Finistère, France


Maritime Pollution of 22 KM long and 200M wide by a Liberian ship, The Matterhorn 


On the 25th of May 2009, the Matterhorn, a cargo ship under the Liberian flag, was caught by a customs plane trailing a 200m wide oil pollution over a length of 22km, which corresponds to a spill lasting about 45 minutes, close to Ushant island, at 80km off the French coast.


Surfrider acted as the civil plaintiff alongside several other environmental associations.


In March 2010, the tribunal of Brest imposed a fine of one million Euros on the captain of the Matterhorn, 90% of which was to be settled by the Greek shipowner, the company Eastwind Transport Ellas.

The tribunal took place in absence of the defendants, and for good reason, as the conglomerate which the Greek company belonged to had declared itself bankrupt after the vessel had been rerouted, abandoning both cargo and crew. Five months later, the ship was seized and the crew were repatriated to their countries of origin.

The defendants appealed, but their sentence was confirmed in January 2013.

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