Government of Galapagos to file claim against vessel that spilled oil after it ran aground

The government of Galapagos Islands has filed a claim against the insurers and the responsible parties for the grounding of the Buque Tanquero Jessica, a tanker that ran aground and spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil.

MIAMI, Fla., June 4, 2001 — The government of Galapagos Islands, Ecuador today retained the law firm Podhurst Orseck Josefsberg Eaton Meadow Olin & Perwin to file a claim against the insurers and the responsible parties for the grounding of the Buque Tanquero Jessica, a tanker that ran aground and spilled as much as 240,000 gallons of oil in the pristine waters of the Galapagos Islands archipelago.

The incident caused extensive contamination and damages to the environment of the Galapagos Islands, located 500 miles off the west coast of Ecuador.

The Ecuadorian tanker, loaded with 243,000 gallons of oil, ran aground on January 16, 2001 and literally broke in two pieces in the Bay of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, a reef just off Isla San Cristobal, the easternmost island of the Galapagos Islands. These islands, which led Charles Darwin to his theory of natural selection, possess one of the world's most delicate environments, rich with exotic plant and animal species that cannot be found anywhere else.

The insurers for the Jessica, Air and Sea Insurance Corp., is located in Miami, Florida and therefore, the claim for the insurance coverage is being made in this jurisdiction. The Podhurst Orseck firm is also involved in representing the Ecuadorian and other foreign governments, including Russia, Venezuela, various Brazilian states, Honduras and Belize in claims against Big Tobacco for healthcare reimbursement and lost tax revenues from illegal smuggling operations.

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