A judge Tuesday ordered Amoco Corp. to pay about $155 million for damages from a massive oil spill by the Amoco Cadiz tanker off northern France in 1978.
Amoco officials said they would appeal the order, promising to prolong a case that has dragged through the courts for years.
U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle on Tuesday formally endorsed an order he spelled out in June, based on damage recommendations from former U.S. District Judge Frank McGarr. McGarr was appointed special master for the case after retiring from the bench in January, 1988.
The order was completed after lawyers for Amoco and the French parties agreed upon interest payments on the damages.
"This is the first conviction of a leading oil company in connection with a major oil spill, and it is a victory for the people of Brittany," said Jean-Baptiste Henry, spokesman for the local governments and businesses of Brittany.
Norgle ordered Amoco to pay about 690 million francs to the French government, local government and businesses. That is about $120 million--$60 million in damages and $60 million in interest.
Amoco was also ordered to pay the British-pound equivalent of $35 million in damages to Shell Oil Co., owner of the spilled oil.
The Amoco Cadiz ran aground two miles off the Brittany coast on March 16, 1978.