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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October, 2003, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Sea Empress claims paid
Sea Empress
Around 72,000 tonnes of crude oil were spilled in the disaster
Two massive compensation claims over the Sea Empress disaster off the coast of west Wales have finally been settled.

Insurers for the Milford Haven Port Authority have concluded negotiations with the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF) and global oil giant Texaco.

The port authority says it is delighted the claims have been resolved, finally drawing a line under the 1996 incident.

The IOPCF was seeking 36.8m for money it paid out to the victims of the disaster, together with possible future claims, but has settled for 20m.

We now look forward to this very beautiful haven being known for something other than the Sea Empress
Ted Sangster

Texaco's claim for 10m has also been settled but the accepted sum is not known.

More than 200km of the west Wales coastline was affected when the Sea Empress ran aground in February 1996, spilling 72,000 tonnes of crude oil.

Port authority chief executive Ted Sangster said: "I am delighted to confirm that the two claims have finally been resolved.

"Through a process of legal mediation we have, with our insurers, agreed terms which are in full and final settlement of both claims."

Mr Sangster told BBC News Online the settlements drew a line under the disaster.


He said the authority was now looking forward to concentrating fully on continuing the development of its waterway.

"We always maintained a robust defence against the claims, but fighting them has inevitably been a distraction from our statutory and commercial objectives.

"We have, nonetheless, in the seven years since the incident, made substantial changes and introduced, along with all other UK ports, innovations in our safety and port operations.

"Reaching these settlements is a huge weight off our collective minds," said Mr Sangster.

"We now look forward to this busy, successful and very beautiful haven being known for something other than the Sea Empress."

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