Erika - The Black Tide

On 12 December 1999 the "Erika", carrying 31,000 tons of heavy fuel oil, broke up during a severe storm in the Bay of Biscay approximately 60 nautical miles off the Brittany Coast. She caused some of the most extensive oil pollution ever seen in Europe, affecting 400 kilometres of the French Atlantic Coastline. This film is an account of the spill and of the intensive clean-up which followed it.

The oil pollution liabilities of the "Erika" were insured by The Steamship Mutual, which co-ordinated its response with the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1992 (the Fund). The Club and the Fund jointly instructed the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) and other experts to attend the clean-up from the outset, and in early January 2000 opened a claims office in Lorient, close to some of the most severely affected areas.

This film, which lasts approximately 30 minutes and can be seen below, includes footage of the sinking and deals with the extent and impact of the spill, as well as the clean-up operation, and the longer term consequences of the pollution. Extensive interviews examine the effect of the spill upon the local population, industry and commerce, including fisheries, mariculture and tourism. Claims and compensation payments are also addressed in this comprehensive account of one of Europe's worst pollution incidents.

The DVD is supplied to Members free of charge. The DVD is also be available to others interested in receiving a copy and can be ordered by completing the online Order Form.