Decision ID: 003933

In April 2013, the 1992 Fund Executive Committee considered the judgement rendered in respect of the Erika incident on 25 September 2012 by the Criminal Section of the Court of Cassation. The judgement had followed an appeal by the representative of the shipowner (Tevere Shipping), the president of the management company (Panship Management and Services Srl), the classification society (RINA) and Total SA against a judgement by the Court of Appeal in Paris which had held all four parties criminally liable for the offence of causing pollution. The Court of Appeal had also held that Total SA was exempt of civil liability but had confirmed the civil liability imposed on the other three parties. For the most part, the Court of Cassation had confirmed the decisions of the Court of Appeal in respect of the criminal liability of the four parties involved. In April 2013, the Director presented an analysis of the judgement to the 1992 Fund Executive Committee and discussions focussed on three key issues: the jurisdiction of the criminal courts in France for a spill which had occurred in its Exclusive Economic Zone, ie outside of French territorial waters; the Court of Cassation’s decision that all liable parties, including the classification society, RINA, could benefit from the channelling provisions contained in Article III.4 of the 1992 Civil Liability Convention (CLC), but that, in applying French law of tort, they had acted recklessly and were therefore held liable for the damage caused; and the decision that compensation should be paid for pure environmental and moral damage under French law. The 1992 Fund Executive Committee noted that this judgement was not binding on the 1992 Fund, which was not a party to the criminal proceedings.

Date: 23.04.2013
Categories: Application of the Conventions, Environmental damage
Subjects: Application of the 1992 Fund Convention and the Supplementary Fund Protocol to the EEZ, Channelling provisions under Article III.4 of the 1969 and 1992 Civil Liability Conventions, Uniform application of the Conventions, Environmental liability