Esso To Face Court Over Sailor Death

The Crown Prosecution Service has revealed that Esso and one of its contractors are to be prosecuted over the death of a sailor at one of Europe's largest oil refineries.

Honduran Juan Antonio Quintanilla Romero, 40, was working on the fuel tanker MV Castillo de Monterreal which had docked at the refinery in Fawley, near Southampton, when he died on August 30 2008.

A large fuel pipe collapsed on him after the jib from which it was suspended gave way as a connector bolt, which was severely corroded, failed, the CPS said.

Both Esso Petroleum Company Limited, which owns the refinery and the jib that collapsed, and Dorset-based Austin & McLean Limited, which was hired by Esso to undertake maintenance on the jib, have now been charged following a Hampshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive investigation.

Austin & McLean is accused of gross negligence manslaughter, relating to an alleged gross breach of its duty of care towards Mr Romero and also an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.

Esso has been charged with an offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 plus charges under Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 and the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998.

Gaon Hart, senior crown advocate in the Special Crime team at the CPS, said: ''I have concluded that there is sufficient evidence resulting from the investigation to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and that a prosecution is required in the public interest. Those are the tests set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors.''

Representatives of Esso and Austin & McLean will appear at Southampton Magistrates' Court on September 5.