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US oil company is liable for '78 spill off France

A federal judge ruled Thursday that Standard Oil of Indiana is liable for damages caused by a massive oil spill off the French coast in 1978 from the wreck of the tanker Amoco Cadiz.

The amount of damages, estimated by various parties in the case at between $2 billion and $3 billion, will be set later in a separate court proceeding.

US District Judge Frank McGarr also held that Standard Indiana and its subsidiaries are entitled to collect damages from the Spanish builders of the tanker, Astrilleros Espanoles SA, ''to the extent that its own liablity was contributed to by the negligence and fault of the shipbuilder.''

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