WK Law & Enterprise

Civil Liability ConventionImmediately after the shock brought on by the Liberian tanker Torrey Canyon” accident in 1967 off the United Kingdom coastline, member States of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) established a particular international regime aiming at ensuring adequate compensation for victims of pollution harm brought on by oil spills from ships. Claims for compensation for oil pollution harm (which includes clean-up charges) may possibly be brought against the owner of the tanker which triggered the harm or directly against the owner’s P&I insurer. An attempt is being created to locate an authority which is prepared to issue 1969 CLC certificates in the exact same manner as the United Kingdom authority will issue 1992 CLC certificates for ships flying the flag of a 1969 flag state.

The 1969 CLC entered into force in 1975 and lays down the principle of strict liability (i.e. liability even in the absence of fault) for tanker owners and creates a program of compulsory liability insurance coverage. Practically nothing in this Convention shall have an effect on the right of the shipowner and the person or persons supplying insurance coverage or other economic security to limit liability under any applicable national or international regime, such as the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976, as amended. The judgment of the Court of appeal of Paris was appealed in cassation by the convicted persons and 36 civil parties.

The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (1971 IOPC Fund) was set up for the purpose of administering the regime of compensation developed by the Fund Convention when it entered into force in 1978. Though strict liability below the Bunker Spills Convention extends beyond the registered owner to the bareboat charterer, manager and operator of the ship, the Convention only calls for the registered owner of ships greater than 1,000 GT to retain insurance coverage or other economic safety. For example, the maximum quantity of compensation obtainable below the 1992 Fund Convention is inclusive of compensation payable by the tanker owner below the 1992 CLC.

Note 1: Those provisions of the Bunker Oil Convention deal with the liability of shipowners for pollution damage and the generating of claims against insurers or persons supplying economic security for ships. The 1992 CLC will enter into force in Jamaica on 6 June 1998, in the Philippines on 7 July 1998, in Uruguay on 9 July 1998, in Singapore on 18 September 1998 and in the United Arab Emirates on 19 November 1998.

B. States parties to the 1969 CLC continue the established practice of issuing 1969 CLC certificates to ships flying the flag of non-celebration States and accept such certificates issued by other States parties to the 1969 CLC. Note 1: Paragraph two of Write-up 7 of the Bunker Oil Convention demands the certificate to specify the period of validity of the certificate. A certificate issued for the ship, for the purposes of Article 7 of the Bunker Oil Convention, by or below the authority of the government of that nation.

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