Prosecutors in an oil spill case dating back ten years are to seek a maximum fine against the company Total, as the oil giant begins its appeal in a French court today.Total SA are challenging a 2007 decision to fine them 375,000 euros for a massive oil spill along the Brittany coast in 1999. They were also ordered to pay 200 million euros in damages. Fifteen companies and individual defendants are charged with negligence in connection with the so-called “Erika” disaster. The oil tanker was carrying 20,000 tones when it hit bad weather and sank in the Bay of Biscay. It released its crude cargo into the sea, coating 400 kilometres of the French coast with oil and killing thousands of birds.