EU Countries Seek Higher Compensation For Oil Spills

Thursday, April 05, 2001
European Union countries are to push for higher compensation levels to cover oil tanker accidents, diplomats at a transport ministers' meeting said on Thursday.

The ministers will finalize a negotiating stance when they next meet in June in order to be ready for International Oil Pollution Fund (IOPF) negotiations in October, a Swedish official told reporters.

During the closed-door discussions there was relatively little support for the EU to set up its own compensation fund to supplement the IOPF, an idea that has been proposed by the European Commission and is supported by France, diplomats said.

The Commission proposed an EU fund that would raise liability to a maximum of one billion euros ($901.7 million) from the IOPF's current 200 million-euro ($807.7 million) ceiling. The fund would be financed by European companies that import oil, the Commission proposed.

Ministers did not decide what level they would push for at an international level, diplomats said.

The majority of ministers welcomed the Commission's idea of setting up a European maritime agency to as part of the bloc's efforts to coordinate national approaches to shipping safety.

Greece, Portugal, and Italy proposed they would like to host the new agency, suggesting Piraeus, Lisbon and Genoa as possible locations.

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