The United States-based oil and gas giant, Exxon Mobil Corporation, has been ordered to pay $507.5 million in punitive damages plus interest for the oil spill that occurred off Alaska in 1989.
The order issued by the Ninth US Court of Appeals in Pasadena, California, was consistent with the figure suggested by the Supreme Court in 2008.
The US federal appeals court in Pasadena also awarded plaintiffs 5.9% interest starting from the date of the original trial judgment in September 1996.
The cumulative amount of the interest could be almost double the fine of $507.5 million.
The appeals court also ordered that the parties must pay for their own attorney fees and court costs, which would cost another $70 million for Exxon Mobil Corporation, based in Irving, Texas, the United States.
However, the damages awarded by the federal appeals court in Pasadena is only a small fraction of the $5 billion in damages that a jury had originally awarded to the natives of Alaska, fishermen, business owners and others in 1996. This amount of $5 billion was later reduced upon appeals by Exxon Mobil.
In March 1989, an Exxon Valdez supertanker spilled over 50,000 tons of oil into Prince William Sound, on the south coast of Alaska. This was the worst oil spill in the history of the United States.
Exxon spent about $3.4 billion to clean up the oil spill as well spending to end criminal proceedings and compensate fishermen and business owners.