A formal inquiry into the wreck of the oil tanker "Amoco Cadiz" opened in London on Tuesday.
GV AERIAL VIEWS OF: Amoco Cadiz breaking up. (2 SHOTS)
GV & CU: Cleanup operation on beaches.
GV EXTERIOR: Building.
GV INTERIOR: Officials at desk.
SV: Interview with Mr. Ernest Meclain, spokesman for the Liberian Bureau of Maritime Affairs.
MECLAIN: "The Liberian maritime regulations and our laws are in excess, some of our laws are in excess of international standards. the Amoco Cadiz was not just an ordinary fishing vessel. It was built in '74, well manned, it was just a misfortune."
JENNINGS: "The French government has been somewhat critical of the Liberian loose restrictions, as they put it. How do you react to that?"
MECLAIN: "Well, we've had talks with the French authorities, I have just come in from Paris, a couple of days ago. Our commissioner and (INDISTINCT) we are working with the French authorities through diplomatic channels, trying to explain to them our maritime policy and regulations and they are getting around to understanding, I feel, our side of this."
The Amoco Cadiz ran aground on the rocky coast of Brittany, northern France, on 16 March. Its spilt cargo polluted 215 miles (350 kilometres) of beautiful French coastline, killed thousands of birds and destroyed fishing grounds. France has brought international pressure to bear for measures to stop such a disaster from happening again, and Liberia, the country under whose flag of convenience the Amoco Cadiz was registered, has borne the brunt of the international attack. But Liberian officials have rejected any suggestion that the disaster might not have happened if the ship had been registered elsewhere, under tougher safety regulations.
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Background: A formal inquiry into the wreck of the oil tanker "Amoco Cadiz" opened in London on Tuesday. The inquiry has been convened by the Liberian government.
SYNOPSIS: The Amoco Cadiz, registered in Liberia and carrying 220-thousand tons of crude oil ran aground on the coast of France in March spilling her cargo into the sea. The result was an environmental disaster, costing French fishermen and tourist operations many millions of Francs. The French government later claimed the tanker's master failed to take steps which would have prevented the disaster.
In London, a give-man board of inquiry under the chairmanship of British lawyer, Sir Gordon Wilmer, will try to find out exactly what happened, and who was responsible. An interim report is likely within a few days, after the first session on engineering problems. Mr. Ernest Meclain, of the Liberian Bureau of maritime Affairs, told Visnews' Nick Jennings that Liberian safety standards were quite adequate.