Mobil sentenced for Tauranga Harbour spill

  • 16/05/2016
Mobil sentenced for Tauranga Harbour spill

By Heather McCarron

A lawyer for Mobil is being grilled by a judge over why the company didn’t act sooner to fix a rusty pipe at the centre of an oil spill.

Mobil's being sentenced after up to 6000 litres of heavy fuel oil seeped into Tauranga Harbour in April last year.

The court's heard Mobil knew there was a problem with a corroded pipe – but the company claims the urgency of the situation wasn't fully understood.

Mobil was told in 2013 that the pipe in question was deemed a category 1 – the highest priority on a scale of 1 – 5.

A contractor discussed his concerns with Mobil and said it needed to be fixed – but Mobil’s engineers thought they had more time to address it.

Judge Jeff Smith told Mobil's lawyers he finds this "incredible".

"What you're suggesting to me is that 'bad' doesn't mean anyone has to do anything?"

Mobil has paid about $1.8 million as a result of the spill.