Finistère, France


Maritime Pollution OF 37 km long and 50 m wide by a Lithuanian Ship, the Vytautas.

Summary of the situation

On the 5th of March 2007, the pilot of an Atlantic II aircraft of the French Navy on patrol in the Bay of Biscay detects a 37 km long and 50 m wide pollution. The layer of pollution is located in the wake of the cargo ship Vytautas sailing under Lithuanian flag and bound for Elefa (Greece).


Surfrider Foundation Europe has filed a civil suit to ensure that this pollution will be punished. These actions are in line with the status of the association, which aims to protect and enhance the oceans, waves and coastline.

Legal Context

SFE once again begins legal proceedings to claim for criminal indemnification. We thus press charges at the District High Court in Brest. The trial takes place on the 5th of November, and the verdict is pronounced on the 7th of January 2009. SFE's aim is to achieve a reduction in deliberate oil spills, as they are an important source of marine pollution.

Both the captain and the owner of the Vytautas are found guilty of illegally causing hydrocarbon pollution. This is another victory for SFE, and we are happy to see that ocean polluters are being heavily fined by the French courts.

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Waste from agricultural areas, urban areas, even sewage: many sources of pollution threaten the quality of our coastal waters.

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