The court has ruled on Monday 13 June 2016 in its final judgment, that Isla is indeed responsible for the oil spill in the Jan Kok nature reserve. The court already ruled that this was currently proven in July 2014, which resulted in Isla needing to prove that there was another tangible cause in order to avoid responsibility for the damage.
Attorney Rogier van den Heuvel of VanEps Kunneman VanDoorne represented the plaintiffs and owners of the polluted area (the Foundation for the Preservation of Historic Buildings and Sites, and Sea Shore Properties NV) in these legal proceedings, that were initiated in 2012 already.
In August 2012, a large amount of oil was found in the Saliña (saltpan) Sint Marie and the surrounding nature reserve at Bullenbaai in Curaçao. This resulted in a lot of environmental damage and, for instance, flamingos covered in oil. Volunteers and cleaning staff of the government cleaned the area for weeks.
A likely source for the oil was found in the Curaçao Oil Terminal (COT), which would result in Isla – that operates the terminal – being liable for the damage caused by the oil spill. Isla denied that the oil would originate from the COT, but at this point – almost four years later – the court has ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
The refinery has now been sentenced to payment of the cleaning costs of EUR 38.200 and of the additional losses due to the damage, which will be determined after the research to the level of pollution and the necessary measures to restore the damage, has been finalized. In addition, the court orders Isla to prevent a repeat, with a ANG 500.000 penalty in case a similar situation would occur after all.