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Company a no-show in BC provincial court on English Bay fuel spill charges

Fuel spill in English Bay (April 9/15) (Chad Dey, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A company accused of operating a ship that leaked bunker fuel in Vancouver’s English Bay in April 2015 failed to appear in British Columbia Provincial Court to face charges linked to the spill.

The MV Marathassa and Alassia NewShips Management Inc., a firm based in Greece, were due in court Wednesday on 10 charges, including discharge of a pollutant, but only a lawyer for the ship appeared.

The spill of at least 2,700 litres of bunker fuel in English Bay and the ensuing miscommunications among Canadian authorities and delays in clean-up raised questions about Canada’s preparedness for oil spills.

A lawyer for Alassia filed an application for judicial review in Federal Court, alleging Canadian authorities failed to properly serve it with a summons, but its case hit a snag on Tuesday when a judge said the company should instead seek relief in BC Supreme Court.

The company has said one summons was delivered to a captain who has no fixed employment with Alassia and who was aboard a vessel owned by a different company, but Crown counsel Jessica Lawn said Wednesday the vessel was operated by Alassia.

Peter Swanson, a lawyer for Alassia, has said the company also does not own the MV Marathassa, but Lawn said outside the courtroom that ownership of the ship may be determined by the court.

Swanson did not immediately return a request for comment on Wednesday.

The next court date in the case is scheduled for June 1.