Company director escapes pollution prosecution

The National Rivers Authority's first attempt to bring a personal liability case against a company director appears to have failed. Charges relating to two oil pollution incidents in Northumberland had to be dropped after the firm responsible went into liquidation and its directors disappeared.

The Sheffield-based business, Oceanic (UK), ran a scrap-yard for ships at Battleship Wharf on the river Blyth. In January, while it was dismantling a Russian submarine, there was a substantial release of oil from the site. Hundreds of ducks and swans were contaminated and a rescue operation was launched by conservationists. In April, the NRA was forced to surround the site with booms to contain a second oil spill, this time from the bulk of a

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