From: Reuters
Published October 23, 2007 06:58 PM

EU court annuls ship pollution law on technicality

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's top court struck down an EU law holding captains and shipowners criminally responsible for polluting the sea on Tuesday, saying the legislation had not been properly drafted.

The law was agreed in 2005, shortly after oil tanker spills damaged coastlines in France and Spain.

The legislation will now have to rewritten after the Luxembourg-based court said in a statement that national governments had ignored the executive European Commission during the legislative process.

Under the law, captains, owners or companies chartering ships could be prosecuted and fined heavily for major sea pollution.



It was introduced after the tanker Prestige spilled over 60,000 tonnes of oil off northwestern Spain in 2002. In a similar environmental catastrophe, the tanker Erika discharged about 20,000 of oil in 1999 off the French coast.

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