Erika Tanker Case Spills Into French Court

Law360, New York (February 13, 2007, 12:00 AM EST) -- French oil company Total SA went to trial Monday for the 1999 sinking of the Erika tanker, marking the first time the French court has heard an environmental damage suit and underscoring the opacity of international agreements in the oil transport business.

The Erika tanker, which was carrying Total fuel oil, split over two during after hitting a rough patch of weather on the open seas. Nearly 20,000 metric tons of oil disgorged into the Atlantic Ocean.

The plumes, some reaching around a meter deep, flowed...
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