Decision ID: 001073
In October 1999 the 1971 Fund Executive Committee, in a private session pursuant to Rule 12 of the Rules of Procedure at which only the delegations of 1971 Fund Member States and of those other States which were Members of the 1971 Fund at the time of the incident were present, considered whether the 1971 Fund should take recourse action against the Milford Haven Port Authority (MHPA). The Committee recalled that the MHPA had in criminal proceedings pleaded guilty to the charge under the Water Resources Act 1991 of causing or permitting polluting matter, namely oil and bunkers, to enter controlled waters and that it had been sentenced to pay a fine of £4 million. The Committee noted the legal advice given to the Fund that the basis of a recourse action against the MHPA would be that, as a harbour authority and pilotage authority, it was in breach of both common law and statutory duties (under the Milford Haven Conservancy Act 1983 and the Pilotage Act of 1987). Although being aware that there was an risk element in any litigation and that a recourse action against the MHPA would give rise to complex legal issues, the Committee noted that there appeared to be a reasonable prospect of recovering at least part of the amounts paid by the Fund in compensation. The Committee therefore decided to instruct the Director to take recourse action on behalf of the 1971 Fund against the MHPA. The Director was also instructed to keep the Committee informed of any developments so as to enable it to reassess the 1971 Fund’s position if required.