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Legal agencies line up to take on Bohai Bay oil spill suit

(Xinhua)

10:14, August 19, 2011

More than 10 legal advisory agencies have shown interest in handling a suit being brought against US-based oil company ConocoPhillips over environmental damage caused by oil spills in Bohai Bay, maritime authorities announced on Thursday.

The North China Sea branch of the State Oceanic Administration said agencies that wish to handle the case should submit applications to the branch by Saturday.

A panel of domestic jurists and marine experts will be organized to conduct a preliminary examination of applications. About five qualified agencies will be selected.

A legal service team, including a main acting agent and three to four assisting agents, will be established to handle the case after the evaluation process is completed.

The administration posted a notice on its website on Monday saying oil spills originating from oil platforms belonging to ConocoPhillips China have contaminated China's marine ecosystem, and the administration intends to take legal action.

Fishermen from Tangshan, Hebei Province, said they believe that the scallops they were raising along the shores were poisoned by contamination from oil spills in the Penglai 19-3 oilfield, which is operated by ConocoPhillips China.

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