Damaged supertanker released despite Yemen claim [Archives:2002/47/Local News]

November 18 2002

BRUSSELS (Reuters)- The supertanker damaged by an explosion off the coast of Yemen was handed back to its owner CMB, despite a call by Yemeni government to pay millions of dollars for environmental damages, CMB said.
Belgian shipping group CMB , which owns the French-flagged Limburg supertanker through its French Euronav unit, refused to pay Yemen $18.5 million in damages caused by oil that spilled out of the tanker’s punctured hull in exchange for the release of its vessel.
“It has been solved via a donation to the Yemeni population,” Peter Raes, a CMB managing director, told Reuters, adding that the company paid less than five percent of the requested damages to have the tanker released.
On October 6, a blast tore open the side of the supertanker in the Gulf of Aden, killing one crewman and causing an estimated 50,000 barrels of oil to leak into the sea.
Raes said a 1969 international convention held the owner of a vessel responsible for pollution except in the event of war or an act of terror.