Lawsuit of the week: Feds, province and city claim ship owners have not paid for cleanup costs of 2015 Burrard Inlet oil spill

The federal, provincial and municipal governments are suing the owners of the ship Marathassa three years after an oil spill in English Bay, which cost millions of dollars that the ship’s owners have allegedly failed to pay.

The federal, provincial and municipal governments are suing the owners of the ship Marathassa three years after an oil spill in English Bay, which cost millions of dollars that the ship’s owners have allegedly failed to pay.

In three separate actions filed in the Federal Court of Canada in the first week of April, the governments claim Marathassa Shipping Corp., Alassia Newships Management Inc., The Standard Club Europe Ltd. and the ship Marathassa have failed to pay for the cleanup costs of a 2,800-litre spill of bunker oil on April 8, 2015.

The provincial government seeks costs and expenses of $130,770 “incurred in respect of measures taken to prevent, repair, remedy, minimize or to monitor the pollution damage caused by the ship ‘Marathassa.’”

The day after the spill, representatives of the ship “denied responsibility for the oil pollution,” the province’s claim states.

“On April 9, 2015, as the polluter was not willing or able to take action, the Canadian Coast Guard ... established a Unified Command Post at Port Metro Vancouver (‘UCP’), to co-ordinate an environmental response and clean-up operation.”

The cleanup lasted until May 26, 2015, and assessments found bunker oil “at a variety of sites around the Burrard Inlet and some oiled wildlife.”

The federal government’s claim seeks $2,431,746 from the defendants for the costs of cleaning up the spill.

The City of Vancouver’s claim does not specify damages, but seeks costs and expenses related to the spill and subsequent cleanup.

“As a result of the spill, fuel oil polluted City of Vancouver shorelines and beaches, constituting a risk of harm to public health, as well as to local wildlife, marine mammals and fish populations,” the claim states.

The allegations in all three claims have not been tested or proven in court, and the defendants had not responded to the lawsuits by press time.