Treatment of liability, economic losses and environmental damage of ship source oil pollution
Sammanfattning: When the Torrey Canyon ran aground in 1967, there was no international regime covering liability for oil pollution damage. This changed with the adoption of the 1969 Civil Liability Convention for Oil Pollution (CLC) and the 1971 International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (Fund Convention). While torts are mainly fault based, the Conventions apply strict liability for the shipowner. The CLC/Fund is a two-tiered regime where liability is established through the CLC and if certain criteria are met, the Fund will further compensate victims of oil pollution damage, assuming a state is party to both Conventions. A state may be party only to the CLC but in order to be party to the Fund, it must also be party to the CLC. In 1992 the Conventions were amended, although some states are still party to the 1969/1971 regime. A third tier of compensation is available for contracting States of the 2003 Supplementary Fund Protocol. There was still a gap in the regime of liability for oil pollution damage, as the CLC did not deal with bunker spills from non tankers. This gap was filled by the 2001 International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (Bunkers). In the thesis, the author strives to delve into two problems related to the definition of “pollution damage” in the Conventions; those of “environmental damage” and “pure economic loss”. The legislators of the Conventions have left matters such as standing (locus standi) and compensability of pure economic loss to the discretion of national courts. This has led to uncertainty and a lack of harmonization within the regime of oil pollution damage. Although the Fund has developed certain guidelines to deal with the discrepancy of judgments rendered in courts of contracting States, judges have generally been of the position that the guidelines of the Fund are not legally binding. Uniformity will consequently be difficult to achieve unless the definition in the Conventions is changed.
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