Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislators yesterday accused Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)Taipei mayoral candidate Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) of failing to fight for "sufficient compensation" for the nation in the lawsuit against the Norwegian Assuranceforeningen Gard during his tenure as minister of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA).
Assuranceforeningen Gard was the insurer of the cargo ship Amorgos.
Taiwan sued the insurer in 2002 for causing an oil spill off the coast of Kenting National Park in 2001, and demanded NT$1 billion (US$30,6) in compensation.
DPP Legislator Hsieh Hsin-ni (
Although the nation finally received approximately NT$34 million in damages from the insurance company early this year, only about NT$9.5 million was reimbursed to the country after payments of the counsel fee, which totaled about NT$24 million, Hsieh said.
DPP Legislator Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said that while negotiating with the insurer, Hau had insisted on defending the nation's dignity.
However, most of the compensation went to the law firm, which was headed by lawyer C. V. Chen (陳長文), while the nation was left with insufficient money to salvage the corals affected by the oil spill.
Hau should not have insisted on getting a NT$1 billion compensation as international treaties stipulate that the maximum compensation is NT$150 million, Hsu said.
Hsu said that based on his understanding of maritime law, Hau should have included the counsel fee in the requested compensation as is customary in admiralty proceedings. He did not specify which treaty or admiralty he was referring to.
Hsieh and Hsu urged Hau to stop campaigning for himself by recounting "his so-called achievements" during his term at the EPA.
Hau yesterday shrugged off the accusations.
"Go check the records in the Environmental Protection Administration, and if they still feel they are problematic, I welcome them to turn the case to the prosecutors for examination," Hau said.
Additional reporting by Mo Yan-chih