• Kyodo

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An international oil pollution compensation body filed a new lawsuit in January with the Fukui District Court in an effort to speed up the payment of compensation from the Russian owner of the tanker Nakhodka that caused a massive oil spill in 1997 along the Sea of Japan coast, lawyers for the body said.

The London-based International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund demands in the suit that Prisco Traffic, a Russian marine transport company based in Nakhodka in the Russian Far East, pay 3 billion yen in compensation.

The 13,157-ton Nakhodka sank off Shimane Prefecture on Jan. 2, 1997. About 6,200 kiloliters of fuel oil leaked into the sea, polluting vast stretches of the Sea of Japan coastline.

The fund had already filed a lawsuit at the same court to demand the company pay 30 billion yen in redress.

The trial has been delayed as Prisco did not allow its Tokyo agent to accept the petition. The paper was sent to Prisco via diplomatic channels, but it has not been confirmed whether the company had received it.

The latest lawsuit was filed in such a way that Prisco’s Tokyo agent was able to receive the petition for the new litigation on the firm’s behalf.

The 3 billion yen in the new suit is part of the 30 billion yen in the previous litigation. Local governments along the Sea of Japan, fishing cooperatives and firms in the trade and tourism sectors claimed the oil spill caused over 30 billion yen in damage.

The fund has paid them part of the amount in place of Prisco and demanded in the previous suit that the firm pay back the money.

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