In China, four Oil Ministry officials received prison sentences on Tuesday (2 September) in connection with an oil rig disaster last November (1979).
GV INTERIOR Courtroom in session at Tianjin, China.
SV PAN Judges presiding over court.
SV Defence and prosecution councillors reading statements. (2 SHOTS)
SV Judge making statement.
SCU & SV Defendants listening to judge. (4 SHOTS)
GV PAN Court and audience in session.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: In China, four Oil Ministry officials received prison sentences on Tuesday (2 September) in connection with an oil rig disaster last November (1979). Seventy two people died when the offshore oil rig capsized and the officials were charged with dereliction of duty.
SYNOPSIS: The trial took place in the East Coast city of Tianjin. The new China News Agency reported that many family members of the victims of the tragedy attended the people's court, along with representatives of the central departments.
The disaster occurred in Bohai Bay after the Oceanic Petroleum Exploration Bureau had ignored regulations and ordered the damaged rig to be towed in heavy storms. The Director of the Bureau was sentenced to four years imprisonment while two lesser officials and the captain of the towing vessel received lighter sentences. The news agency reported that the accused had admitted they had committed "unpardonable crimes". China's Petroleum Industry Minister, Mr. Song Zhenming has already been fired because of attempts to cover up the disaster.
The prominent coverage of this trial in the Chinese Press is seen as Indicating a new attitude by the authorities.