EARTH Thailand

Court orders payout for 203 Rayong oil spill victims

Bangkok Post 26 August 2016

PTT Global Chemical Plc (PTTGC) and its former president Bowon Vongsinudom have been ordered by the Civil Court to pay financial compensation to 203 people affected by the July 27, 2013 oil spill in Rayong.

The spill caused damage to several beaches and the overall environment in the province.

According to the ruling Thursday, PTTGC and Mr Bowon, who are the first and second defendants, were held jointly responsible for infringing on Sections 420 and 437 of the Civil and Commercial Code and Section 96 of the environmental quality promotion and protection law in failing to maintain the company's oil pipelines to avoid the leak that triggered the spill.

The company and the former executive were supposed to ensure the Oil Companies International Marine Forum's standards requiring maintenance of oil pipelines every six months were followed strictly, the court said. A total of 223 fishermen along with Koh Samet seaside business operators sued the company and Mr Bowon for damage caused by the spill from the company's marine pipeline, demanding compensation of 300,000 baht to 450,000 baht each.

The ruling, however, said 20 complainants among the 223 failed to prove how they had been affected.

The court, therefore, ordered the company and Mr Bowon to pay 203 plaintiffs between 30,000 baht and 50,000 baht each depending on the extent of the damage.

The company previously paid 5 million baht to some affected people, an amount the court allowed to be deducted from the compensation it had ordered PTTGC to pay out.

Kornchanok Manirat, one of those affected, said she was not satisfied with the court's ruling but she would not appeal against it.

PTTGC and Mr Bowon could not be reached for comment.