ST. PETERSBURG, March 11 - RAPSI, Viktoria Uzdina. The Supreme Commercial Court has accepted the British International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1992's lawsuit over an oil spill in the Strait of Kerch in 2007.

The fund, which was sued for damages alongside the Ingosstrakh insurer and the Volgotanker shipping company, seeks to revise the lower court's decision to award 503.17 million rubles ($16.4 million) in compensation, the court reported on its website.

The St. Petersburg and Leningrad Regional Commercial Court awarded 437.88 million rubles in damages, with 65.29 million rubles in interest on June 19.

Dozens of vessels crashed in the strait during a storm on November 11, 2007. Over 1,200 tons of oil were spilled into the sea from the Volgoneft-139 oil tanker.

Part of the compensation is to be paid through a special 116 million ruble oil spill liability fund established by the St. Petersburg Commercial Court in 2008.
The remaining funds will be charged to the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund 1992.

The St. Petersburg Commercial Court initially convened the trial in 2008. In August 2010, it opened separate proceedings over a claim filed by the Federal Service for the Oversight of Natural Resources. The service claimed 6 billion rubles ($192.6 million) in compensation for environmental damage due to the spill.

Three courts held against the claims from September 2010 to April 2011, stating that the damage was offset by the Krasnodar Civil Defense and Emergency Department, the Kerch commercial seaport, the Novorossiysk Emergency and Rescue Department, and Volgotanker.

The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds are three intergovernmental organisations (the 1971 Fund, the 1992 Fund and the Supplementary Fund) which provide compensation for oil pollution damage resulting from spills of persistent oil from tankers, the organization's website reports.