Acsa slaps petro-chem giants with R15m lawsuit

2014-07-27 10:06
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Cape Town - Six petro-chemical giants have been slammed with a R15m lawsuit by Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) for the embarrassing fuel shortage crisis that threatened airport operations two years ago.

According to the Sunday Independent, papers filed in the South Gauteng High Court state that BP Southern Africa, Chevron, Engen, Exel (now owned by Sasol), Shell SA and Total SA must cough up R15m plus 15.5% annual interest.

According to Acsa, it signed a five-year deal with the companies in April 2011 to receive, store, supply, distribute and convey aviation fuel at the OR Tambo International Airport.

In accordance with the agreement, should aviation fuel reserves be less than twice the daily average, Acsa must be notified.

However, OR Tambo Internaional Airport faced major fuel shortages for three days between 16 and 18 November 2012.

Acsa was only informed of the problem on 15 November that year.

The terms of the deal state that in such an event, the six companies must pay Acsa R5m a day for each day of the shortage. According to Acsa, the companies have either failed or refused to pay the said amount.

Problems arose when the fuel pipeline to the OR Tambo International Airport was found to be contaminated and rendered unfit for use by airlines.

According to Acsa, the impact of the contamination on the fuel pipeline affected about seven million litres of fuel, which was in storage at the time, and rendered unusable.

The airport operated normally however and alternate methods were used by suppliers to transport fuel from Durban.

OR Tambo serves about 17 million domestic and international passengers a year.

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