Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage

Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage

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The International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969 (CLC Convention), renewed in 1992 (CLC Protocol 1992) is an international maritime treaty that was adopted to ensure that adequate compensation is available where oil pollution damage was caused by maritime casualties involving oil tankers

More than 130 states are now contracting parties to the CLC Protocol 1992.

The Convention applies to all seagoing vessels carrying oil in bulk as cargo, but only ships carrying more than 2,000 tons of oil are required to maintain insurance covering oil pollution damage.

The convention introduces strict liability for ship owners. In cases when the ship owner is deemed guilty of fault for an instance of oil pollution, the convention does not limit liability.

When the ship owner is not at fault, the convention limits liability as follows (in accordance with the 2000 Amendments to the CLC Protocol 1992).
  • For a ship not exceeding  5,000 gross tonnage, liability is limited to  4.51 million special drawing rights (SDR);
  • For a ship  5,000 to 140,000 gross tonnage:  liability is limited to 4.51 million SDR  plus 631 SDR  for each additional gross ton over  5,000;
  • For a ship over  140,000 gross tonnage: liability is limited to 89.77 million SDR.

The daily conversion rates for Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) can be found on the International Monetary Fund website

The Convention places the liability for oil pollution damage on the owner of the ship from which the polluting oil escaped.

The Convention does not apply to warships or other vessels owned or operated by a State for non-commercial purposes.

 The Convention covers pollution damage resulting from spills of persistent oils suffered in the territory (including the territorial sea) and in the exclusive economic zone of a State Party to the Convention.

Environmental damage compensation is limited to costs incurred for reasonable measures to reinstate the contaminated environment. Expenses incurred for preventive measures are recovered even when no spill of oil occurs, provided there was serious and imminent threat of pollution damage.

The 1992 Protocol extended the Convention so that it applies to both laden and unladen tankers, including spills of bunker oil from such ships.

You can find the general terms for the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage here.



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