Shell UK Limited has been ordered by Norwich Crown Court to pay £1.242,000 in fines and costs following the explosion and fire at its Bacton gas terminal in Norfolk in 2008.
An explosion blew a tank’s concrete roof off- the cause of the explosion being a leak of highly-flammable hydrocarbon liquid in a part of the plant responsible for treating waste water before its discharging into the sea.
A joint prosecution from the Health and Safety Executive and the Environment Agency targeted issues surrounding safety, environmental control and pollution-prevention failures at the plant leading to the explosion.
Steve Johnson, an HSE Inspector, said: “The fact no-one was seriously hurt in this incident was solely down to good fortune as the company’s internal report acknowledges. Shell UK neglected basic maintenance leading up to the explosion. Our investigation found key components had been failing for some years and the company knew this.”
Shell UK had failed to close the sea gate until an hour after the fire started. It also failed to notify the Environment Agency, as required, meaning that valuable advice on environmental protection during the incident or its aftermath was not available to either Shell or the fire service.
The company was fined a total of £1,000,000 and ordered to pay £242,000 in costs.