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29th August 2023, 16:40

Magistrates' Court fines Gas Venus captain £20,000 following oil spill

Published by GBC News

The captain of the Gas Venus tanker has been fined £20,000 after the vessel spilled thousands of litres of oil earlier this month during a bunkering operation.

This is further to the £1.5 million agreed by the tanker's operator with the Port Authority for the clean-up.

Kim Sangseob, represented by Neil Costa, has had his travel documents returned, and been allowed to go home.

Korean national, Mr Kim, pleaded guilty at the first opportunity to charges of allowing oil to escape into Gibraltar waters and damaging animal habitats.

It is difficult to know exactly how much fuel made it into the sea, but It has been estimated that up to 3,000 litres spilled from the vessel.

The court heard in mitigation that the Gas Venus was well maintained and serviced. It had its safety certificates and all appropriate safety measures were reportedly in place.

However, on the day of the spill, the Chief officer monitoring the operation electronically failed to notice a spike during the bunkering.

An alarm which should have sounded if the tank overfilled failed to sound, despite reportedly being tested before and after the incident.

Finally, a crew member tasked with being visually in charge of the site was said to be attending to a separate onboardalarm.

The captain of the vessel was given a £30,000 fine reduced to £20,000 for his early plea.

Mr Kim has until the end of September to pay his fine.