BP fails to stop fishing fund payouts Published: 28 February, 2014
THE energy giant, BP, has failed in a judicial bid to stop payments from a fishing compensation fund.
The company claimed that some of the claimants did not suffer at all from the disastrous 2010 oil spill, and that in some cases names have being invented.
The Deep Water Horizon rig explosion cost the lives of 11 men working on the platform, and sent millions of tons of oil gushing into the fish rich waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
The incident brought a rush of compensation claims from fishermen, seafood suppliers and seafood restaurants. While BP accepts that many of the claims are genuine, it believes a large number were blatantly false and from firms who have little or nothing to do with Gulf fishing.
A £1.4-billion (US$2.3 bn) compensation deal was reached two years ago, but last year the company started to get tough with companies it believed were making fraudulent compensation claims on the back of the disaster.
However, this week a US Federal court denied BP’s request to stop payments from the fund, with the company claiming that hundreds of individuals who said they lost out after the spill simply did not exist.
BP has already paid more than $1-billion to the victims but wants the next phase of payments to be suspended until there is a proper check on their validity.
Carl Barbier, the New Orleans judge ruled this week that a suspension of payment was unnecessary, saying that many claimants were trawler deckhands or casual workers and had very little documentary evidence to prove their employment.
Some observers believe that if the claims are allowed to go unchecked it could have a seriously damaging effect on Britain’s premier oil company.
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