You are at :

Key Dates


The Erika spill, from the accident to the court case.

8 December 1999

The Erika leaves Dunkirk (France) bound for Leghorn (Italy) with a cargo of heavy fuel oil from Flanders refinery

11 December 1999

Distress call from the ship's captain, which is then cancelled

12 December 1999

New distress call with request for evacuation
 Crew airlifted from vessel
 Ship breaks up, stern part taken in tow
 Bow part sinks off Penmarc'h (Brittany)
 POLMAR Sea Plan activated by the Atlantic Maritime Prefect

13 December 1999

Rear part sinks
 European response vessels mobilised through the Bonn Agreement

22 December 1999


 23 December 1999

First arrivals of oil on the Finistère shoreline
 POLMAR Land Plan activated for the Loire Atlantique area

24 December 1999

First arrivals on the Morbihan shoreline
 POLMAR Land Plan activated for Finistère and Morbihan

26 December 1999

First arrivals on the Loire Atlantique shoreline

27 December 1999

First arrivals on the Vendée shoreline

30 December 1999

Total gets involved in response: Atlantic Coast Task Force set up

31 December 1999

First arrivals on the Charente-Maritime shoreline
 First investigations of the wrecks with ROVs

12 January 2000

300 million French Francs released to fund response

8 February 2000

French Prime Minister calls together the local councillors of areas affected by the oil spill to present the Government action plan

28 February 2000

Session of the CIADT (French interministerial committee on land planning and development) dedicated to the reinforcement of the oil spill response capacity

21 March 2000

Presentation of Erika 1 package by European Commission

Late March / early April 2000

Initial clean-up operations completed, final clean-up begins

5 June 2000

Wreck treatment operations begin

fin June 2000

Army and fire brigades begin to withdraw

September 2000

2,150 birds cleaned and rehabilitated

September 2000

Pumping of fuel from the wreck completed

Mid September2000

Withdrawal of army troops completed

6 December 2000

Presentation of Erika 2 package by European Commission

6 November 2001

Symposium on initial results of national impact monitoring programmes

Summer 2002

Clean-up worksites completed

22 July 2003

Erika 1 package enters into force

Late 2004

Waste treatment operations completed
 Atlantic Coast Task Force dissolved


Reference work "Marées noires et environnement" directed by the Ministry of Ecology is published

December 2005

Presentation of Erika 3 package by European Commission

12 February 2007

Legal proceedings begin

16 January 2008

Paris Criminal Court issues its verdict:
 - totality of State claims are accepted
 - ecological damage is recognised for 2 claimants

25 January 2008

Several parties appeal the decision

28 May 2008

Adoption of the law on environmental liability transposing the European Directive of 21 April 2004 into French law

10 March 2009

Adoption of Erika 3 package by European Parliament

5 October 2009

Appeal case begins

18 November 2009

Erika court case comes to an end

30 March 2010

Paris Appeal Court to deliver its judgment

??? dans les jours qui suivent

??? Se pourvoient en cassation : l'armateur (M. Savarese), la société de classification (RINA), le gestionnaire (M. Pollara), Total , ainsi que de nombreuses collectivités locales et parties civiles

Last update on 22/08/2019
This site uses third-party services that can use cookies or similar technologies, to collect information for statistical purposes or to provide you with content tailored to your interests.