English Bay fuel spill trial begins despite absence of defendant

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — The trial for a vessel and a company that were charged after thousands of litres of bunker fuel spilled in Vancouver’s English Bay nearly three years ago began in provincial court today without one defendant attending the court hearing.

The Greek shipping firm Alassia NewShips Management Inc. and the vessel MV Marathassa face 10 environmental-related charges after 2,700 litres of fuel leaked into English Bay in April 2015. Alassia has previously denied ownership of the Marathassa and argued the ship’s master and captain Antonios Valakitsis worked on a contract.

Crown attorney Jessica Lawn argued earlier this year that the trial should take place regardless of whether the company participates in the proceedings. Marathassa’s counsel David Jones was in court but Alassia was not represented.

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Judge Kathryn Denhoff said the trial would proceed even without Alassia’s participation and allowed the Crown to call witnesses.

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