22/03/1999

The High Court is due to hear the arguments surrounding the collapse of an aggregate loading plant into the River Thames in 1996. RMC Aggregates of Greater London has issued a writ against Rhodes Industries, based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, seeking damages or an indemnity following the collapse of the plant. The writ says RMC paid u429,630 for the design, manufacture and installation of an unloading conveyor, receiving hopper, winch tower and winch on its land at Angerstein Wharf, Horns Lane, Burgsby Road, Greenwich, London SW10.

It claims that as the ship MV City of Westminster was discharging aggregate on 10 October 1996, the receiving hopper and part of the conveyor collapsed, and part of the plant fell into the river. The writ accuses Rhodes of negligence in the design of the plant and claims it was unfit for its intended purpose.

Writ issued by Greenwoods, Peterborough.

Pembrokeshire County Council is just one claimant in a High Court action against the owners of the oil tanker Sea Empress and others, following the oil spill that occurred when the Sea Empress ran aground at Milford Haven on 15 February, 1996.

The claim is for damages in respect of the costs of the massive clean-up operation that followed the disaster. The primary claim is against the ship owners, Liberia-based Alegrete Shipping. In its writ, the council is seeking orders that Alegrete should pay for the costs of removing the contamination caused by oil from the Sea Empress.

Carmarthenshire County Council; the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAFF); the Environment Agency; and the Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions are also involved in the claim.

They are seeking damages for the cost of measures taken to reduce contamination caused by the escape of oil from the ship.

Under various sections of the Merchant Shipping Act, additional claims have been made against Norwegian insurers Assuranceforeningen Skuld (Gjensidig) and the 1971 International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund.

Writs issued by the Treasury Solicitor; Pembrokeshire Council solicitor Richard Marks; Carmarthenshire Council legal department; the solicitor to MAFF; and Bircham & Co of London SW1.

Penella Locke of Richmond is suing St Helier NHS Trust of Carshalton, Surrey, and Dr David Lawrence of Richmond, for damages over injuries she claims she suffered as a result of medical negligence and breach of duty when she underwent a cystourethroscopy on 31 January 1996 at St Helier Hospital, and in respect of treatment by Dr Lawrence dating from 3 February 1996.

Writ issued by Parlett Kent, London EC1.