Civil Liability For Nuclear Harm

Civil Liability ConventionOn 20/05/2016, you requested the version in force on 20/05/2016 incorporating all amendments published on or just before 20/05/2016. The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (1971 IOPC Fund) was set up for the purpose of administering the regime of compensation produced by the Fund Convention when it entered into force in 1978. Though strict liability under the Bunker Spills Convention extends beyond the registered owner to the bareboat charterer, manager and operator of the ship, the Convention only demands the registered owner of ships higher than 1,000 GT to preserve insurance coverage or other monetary security. For example, the maximum amount of compensation readily available below the 1992 Fund Convention is inclusive of compensation payable by the tanker owner below the 1992 CLC.

For the initial time in national judiciary practice, the TGI Judgment by-passed the international regime established by the 1992 Conventions, until then deemed as self-contained and exclusive, in furthermore applying the civil liability scheme established by French law. The Canada Shipping Act authorizes a levy, were it to be imposed, at 30 cents per tonne to be indexed annually in the very same manner as the limit of liability of the SOPF.

Shipowner liability ranges from SDR ten million (about US$ 15 million) for ships up to 2,000 GT, rising linearly via SDR 82 million (about US$ 126 million) for ships of 50,000 GT, to a maximum of SDR 100 million (about US$ 154 million) for ships over one hundred,000 GT. It is compulsory for all ships over 200 GT to have insurance coverage to cover the relevant amount.

See: Ibrahima, D. Recovering Damage to the Environment per se Following an Oil Spill: the Shadows and Lights of the Civil Liability and Fund Conventions”, RECIEL, 14-1, 2005, p. 64. The Canadian compensation regime is based on the basic principle that the shipowner is mainly liable for oil pollution triggered by the ship. If the flag state was a party to both the 1969 and 1992 CLC the shipowner received in return a certificate certifying that the shipowner had in spot insurance coverage covering liabilities under both conventions.

The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds have also prepared a brochure which describes the international oil pollution compensation regime in a reader-friendly type. Truly, the judicial charges against the organic and legal persons prosecuted have been not primarily based on the strict liability regime offered for in the 1992 Conventions, but rather on possessing committed crimes below French law (primarily the crime of pollution), entailing a corresponding civil liability.

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