Deepwater Horizon Ruling Puts Focus on Prevention

September 12, 2014

By Eric Martin Stamford

Judge’s call to find BP ‘grossly negligent’ puts spotlight on drilling but could also have a major impact on the tanker sector

A US judge’s decision to slap BP with a finding of gross negligence in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill case could have a ripple effect on shipowners, maritime lawyers say.

Last week’s decision District Judge Carl Barbier exposes the UK-headquartered energy giant to up to $18bn in fines for the 2010 drillship incident because, under the same US laws that cover tanker spills, civil penalties are quadrupled in cases of gross negligence compared with “ordinary negligence”.

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