The Bunker Convention was adopted on 23 March 2001 and entered into force on 21 November 2008.
More than 70 states are now contracting parties to the Bunker Convention.
The Convention was adopted to ensure that adequate, prompt, and effective compensation is available to persons who suffer damage caused by spills of oil, when carried as fuel in ships' bunkers.
The Convention applies to damage caused on the territory, including the territorial sea, and in exclusive economic zone of a State Party to the Convention.
The bunkers convention is covering pollution damage only.Pollution damage means:
(a) loss or damage caused outside the ship by contamination resulting from the escape or discharge of bunker oil from the ship, wherever such escape or discharge may occur, provided that compensation for impairment of the environment other than loss of profit from such impairment shall be limited to costs of reasonable measures of reinstatement actually undertaken or to be undertaken; and
(b) the costs of preventive measures and further loss or damage caused by preventive measures.
A key provision in the Bunker Convention is the requirement for direct action - this would allow a claim for compensation for pollution damage to be brought directly against an insurer.
The Convention requires ships over 1,000 gross tonnage to maintain compulsory insurance or other financial security (such as a bank guarantee), to cover the liability of the registered owner for pollution damage in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the applicable national or international limitation regime, but anyway not exceeding an amount calculated in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976 (as amended in 1996), as follows:
The limit of liability for claims for loss of life or personal injury on ships not exceeding 2,000 gross tonnage is 2 million SDR.For larger ships, the following additional amounts are used in calculating the limitation amount:
- For each ton from 2,001 to 30,000 tons, 1,208 SDR
- For each ton from 30,001 to 70,000 tons, 906 SDR
- For each ton in excess of 70,000 tons, 604 SDR.
The limit of liability for property claims for ships not exceeding 2,000 gross tonnage is 1.51 million SDR (up from 1 million SDR).For larger ships, the following additional amounts are used in calculating the limitation amount:
- For each ton from 2,001 to 30,000 tons, 604 SDR (up from 400 SDR)
- For each ton from 30,001 to 70,000 tons, 453 SDR (up from 300 SDR)
- For each ton in excess of 70,000 tons, 302 SDR (up from 200 SDR).
The daily conversion rates for Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) can be found on the International Monetary Fund IMF website www.imf.org
You can find the general terms for the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims here.The Bunker Convention Blue Card
The Bunker Convention Blue Card is issued by an insurer as proof that there is an insurance cover in place that will fully meet the liability claims set out in the Bunker Convention. If you wish to visit a port in a state that is party to the Bunker Convention, you therefore need to apply for a Blue Card from your insurance company in advance.This Blue Card states the following information:
- name of the vessel
- call sign
- port of registry
- IMO number
- the name and full address of the registered owner’s principal place of business
Apply for your Blue Card here.
Under the Bunker Convention, all vessels are required to have War Risk insurance on standard terms, with a separate limit for P&I liabilities up to the limit of the value of the ship. You will therefore need to get such cover before you can receive a Blue Card.