Northern Ireland

Caterpillar apologises for diesel spill off County Antrim coast

On Saturday, 40,000 litres of diesel got into a storm drain at Caterpillar's Larne plant
Image caption On Saturday, 40,000 litres of diesel got into a storm drain at Caterpillar's Larne plant

A senior manager in the manufacturing company responsible for a huge diesel spill off the coast of County Antrim has apologised for the incident.

On Saturday, 40,000 litres of diesel got into a storm drain at Caterpillar's Larne plant.

That pipe, which runs into the sea, created a huge slick that spread across several miles.

Caterpillar said it had reported the incident when it was discovered.

Operations director Robert Kennedy said the company regretted the mistake and had been working to address the consequences.

Image caption Robert Kennedy said the company regretted the mistake and had been working to address the consequences

It has employed environmental contractors who have been using a biodegradable detergent in bays along the coast.

It is hoped that this action, and the fact that it is a light oil, means the action of wind and waves will disperse the spill.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency is investigating the incident.

The agency described it as one of the most serious in recent years.

Image caption Caterpillar said it had reported the incident when it was discovered

It is likely to prove an expensive mistake for Caterpillar.

As well as any fine the company incurs, it will have to pay for the contractors.

The environment agency will also bill the company for a survey being carried out to monitor the situation.

It could also be liable for costs incurred by any company or individual affected by the spill.

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