UK: Bonga Oil Spill Case Resolved in Shell's Favour

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday May 10, 2023

A UK court has ruled in favour of oil major Shell in an oil pollution case going back to 2011.

The Nigerian claimants' case against two Shell subsidiaries emanated from an oil spill involving a tanker loading crude oil from Shell's Bonga oil field 120 m from the Nigerian coast.

The UK's Supreme Court upheld rulings by two lower courts that found the claimants had brought their case after the expiry of a six-year legal deadline for taking action, Reuters reports.

The claimants' lawyers had argued that the ongoing consequences of the pollution represented a "continuing nuisance", a type of civil tort, which would have meant the deadline did not apply.

Two Nigerian citizens were appellants in the Supreme Court case, but the ruling will also apply to the thousands of other claimants.

Shell had disputed the claimants' allegations, saying the Bonga spill did not impact the shoreline. The court did not rule on the disputed facts as it was seeking only to decide the legal point about nuisance.