Prestige incident moving towards its conclusion

Overview

The International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Funds met in London on 1 – 2 April to review incidents involving the Funds and with BIMCO represented as an observer.

It was reported that the case of the Prestige was moving towards its conclusion. The Spanish Supreme Court had confirmed that while the 1992 Fund was not liable for environmental and moral damage, the owners’ P&I Club was responsible up to the USD 1bn policy limit. The Director expressed concern that this set a dangerous precedent for the future uniform application of the Conventions, comments that drew criticism from the Spanish delegation as being inappropriate and unnecessary.

Reports were also received on continuing developments with the Hebei Spirit, Alfa 1, Nesa R3, Trident Star and Agia Zoni II. A possible new case, the Bow Jubail, concerns a tanker in ballast where, if the owners can prove (and a first instance judgement against them is under appeal) that there were no oil residues on board, claims will fall under the Bunkers Convention 2001 with its lower limits linked to LLMC 1996.

A report was made on the Memorandum of Understanding signed in December by EMSA, IOPC Funds and the International Group of P&I Clubs on rates of hire for the use of EMSA Pollution Response Assets.

Other issues included a report on Secretariat work to set up arrangements for a new HNS Fund in anticipation of the Convention’s entry into force, implications of the EU General Data Protection Regulation and administrative matters covering appointment of an external auditor, appointment of the joint Audit Body Chair and amended quorum requirements for the 1992 Fund Administration Council.

In the absence of the sponsoring delegation to introduce the paper, proposals put forward by India for a review of the 1992 Civil Liability Fund and Fund Conventions were held over to the next session.

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