Saturday, September 30, 2023
Thursday, 13 November 2014 20:09

Fund closure means trouble

A decision to wind up the 1971 International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPCF) before all cases are resolved has caused headaches for the P&I Clubs, Simon Bennett of ICS tells MJ.

It puts a spoke in the wheel of a quick and efficient regime established by the IMO Civil Liability (CLC) and Fund Conventions. This compensates pollution victims with costs being divided between shipowners and cargo interests; the shipowners’ contribution is paid regardless of fault and claimants have recourse to the oil-industry funded IOPCF if the shipowner’s liability is exceeded.

Arguments against the move came from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the global trade association for shipowners, BIMCO, Intertanko and others: the issue is complicated but in essence, failure to honour all outstanding claims on this 1971 fund casts a shadow on future schemes, including the current 1992 Fund: however, the decision was pushed through despite the P&I Clubs point that this move may force them to discontinue making interim payments to pollution victims in excess of the shipowners’ limitation. It would, says ICS, potentially result in significant hardship for claimants when they could already be in difficult circumstances.

Mr Bennett says: “ICS is very disappointed by the decision and is now liaising with the international group of P&I clubs in order to see what can be done to secure their position for the future.” In short both P&I Clubs and industry will probably be seeking a way to ensure that the P&I Clubs will have their expenses met on future claims.
Source: Maritime Journal


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