LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Thousands of Nigerian fishermen have rejected an offer of $50 million from Royal Dutch Shell for “some of the largest oil spills in history,” their British lawyers said Friday after winning a landmark court ruling.
Shell already accepts responsibility for paying compensation and cleaning up spills caused by its own failures. But the London High Court decided that Shell can be held legally liable for spills caused by oil thefts, if it fails to provide reasonable protection for its pipeline infrastructure.
The court case involves one of Nigeria’s worst environmental disasters. Amnesty International called it “a shot across the bows for Shell” and said the ruling “paves the way for Shell to finally be held accountable for devastating oil pollution in the Niger Delta.”
Shell played down the judgment, saying in a statement that it was favorable in limiting litigation to “an assessment of actual damages sustained” in spills.