Decision ID: 001231

In June 2001 the 1992 Fund Executive Committee considered the applicability of the 1992 Conventions to pollution damage in Rostock (Germany) and Ventspills (Latvia) caused by oil which originated form the Baltic Carrier, but was released from the bulk carrier Tern after having entered the forepeak tank of the Tern at the time of the collision and where it had remained until discovered when the Tern reached Rostock. It was noted that a small spill occurred whilst the oil was being removed from the Tern in Rostock and that a further spill occurred when the Tern subsequently arrived in Ventspills. The Committee, noting that the Tern was not a ‘ship’ for the purpose of the 1992 Conventions, considered the question as to whether the spill of ‘Baltic Carrier oil’ from the Tern fell within the scope of application of the 1992 Conventions, in other words, how far the liability of the vessel which originally carried the oil reached. It was noted that under Article III.1 of the 1992 Civil Liability Convention the owner of the ship carrying the oil was liable for pollution damage caused by the ship as a result of an incident. It was also noted that ‘pollution damage’ was defined as loss or damage caused outside the ship by contamination resulting from the escape or discharge of oil from the ship (Article I.6). It was further noted that ‘incident’ meant any occurrence or series of occurrences having the same origin, which caused pollution damage or created a grave and imminent threat of causing such damage (Article I.7). The Executive Committee decided that it was premature to make a decision on the scope of application of the 1992 Conventions beyond the pollution damage that occurred as a result of the spill that took place at the location of the sinking and that a decision as to whether or not the Conventions applied also to the spills in Rostock and Ventspills should be deferred to the next session of the Committee. The Director was instructed to carry out further investigations into the chain of events which led to the spills in Rostock and Ventspills.

Date: 31.05.2001
Category: Application of the Conventions
Subjects: Interpretation of 'incident' in Article I.8 of the 1969 and 1992 Civil Liability Conventions, Interpretation of 'pollution damage' in Article I.6 of the 1969 and 1992 Civil Liability Conventions