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Rayong fishing groups sue Star Petroleum over oil spill devastation

Rayong fishing groups sue Star Petroleum over oil spill devastationLegacy

A class action lawsuit has been initiated by 14 individuals from Rayong, representing fishing groups and local businesses.

They are suing Star Petroleum Refining Company (SPRC), the owner of an underwater oil pipeline that ruptured in 2022, claiming that the subsequent major oil spill has devastated their livelihoods.

These individuals are part of a local fishing community known as Pak Nam, Ban Rao, or Pak Nam, Our Home, which encompasses small-scale fishermen and fishery workers in the area. The class action was lodged in the Civil Court on Thursday, assisted by Somchai Armeen, the chairman of a sub-panel on environmental cases at the Lawyers Council of Thailand. The plaintiffs are seeking 4.2 million baht in compensation from SPRC.

On January 25, 2022, an estimated 50,000 litres of crude oil leaked into the Gulf of Thailand and onto the beaches of Rayong due to the pipeline rupture. The province’s Fisheries Office reports that this disaster affected at least 2,600 fishermen. Not only were fish stocks in the area severely impacted, but the remaining catches were unsellable due to the oil contamination.

The Fisheries Office further stated that, since the spill, local fishermen have been unable to make a living. Their regular catches have significantly dwindled from their usual fishing grounds off the Rayong coast. Many have been compelled to venture further out to sea or halt their fishing activities entirely.

The president of the Pak Nam Ban Rao fishing community, Lamom Boonyong, shared that the lawsuit does not solely target the company responsible for the oil spill. Five other parties are also being sued for breaching the environment protection law.

The plaintiffs represent various groups with a total of over 800 members. A ruling in their favour could set a groundbreaking precedent, enabling the remaining members to seek compensation. This could potentially cost the company around 240 million baht, reported Bangkok Post.

The groups are also urging the government to take action in restoring the local marine ecosystem. The Civil Court is set to examine the lawsuit on May 17.

The story Rayong fishing groups sue Star Petroleum over oil spill devastation as seen on Thaiger News.

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