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Who will pay for the massive clean-up still underway in and around English Bay?

(Chad Dey, NEWS 1130 Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – As politicians continue to bicker over slow response times to this week’s fuel spill in English Bay, most of the 3,000 litres of bunker fuel has been contained.

The MV Marathassa flies the flag of Cyprus; a country Dana Miller with UBC’s Fisheries Centre says has a good reputation in the shipping industry.

And she adds thanks to international agreements, final responsibility for damages can be spread around. “If the owner of the vessel denies responsibility or can’t be contacted, the responsibility then falls upon Cyprus to contact the owner to get the owner to pay up.”

Miller notes the good news here is they recently signed an international agreement, called the Bunker Convention, for a situation just like this. “Any vessels that are over 1000 gross tonnes that have the flag of a country that is party to the agreement, so the Cypress flag, then would be required to carry insurance that could cover the cost of cleanup if there was a bunker fuel spill.”

The Coast Guard says the owners of the grain ship will be on the hook for the costs, and will be working on the legal claims process soon.