Hudghton (Greens/EFA) - The Erika oil spill is one of a catalogue of disasters that have taken place in recent years in Community waters, including the Braer spill off Shetland and the Sea Empress off Wales. These spills, in addition to causing irreparable ecological damage, have devastated local industries. In the case of the Erika, the local fishing and aquaculture industries have suffered a bitter blow and it is important not just to look at the harmful effects that are apparent today but also to look ahead at the long-term detrimental effects of oil pollution. Effective compensation is essential. It is time that shipping safety within the Community was tightened up and that greater controls were introduced, including bringing an end to the use of flags of convenience which is also increasingly resorted to in the fisheries sector. The companies responsible, the ship and the cargo owners must pay up for their negligence. The current compensation funds are inadequately funded and this was all too apparent in the case of the Braer disaster where the Shetland Islands fishing industry was inadequately compensated for their losses. We must learn from past experience and make sure that the industries affected by the Braer spill can be rebuilt.

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