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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Oil Pollution News

Myanmar Accedes to Treaty Covering Bunker Oil Pollution Damage

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) treaty ensuring that adequate compensation is available to persons that suffer damage caused by oil spills, when carried as fuel in ships’ bunkers, has been ratified by Myanmar. The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (BUNKER) applies to damage caused on the territory, including the territorial sea, and in exclusive economic zones of States under the Convention. Under the Convention, the registered owner of a vessel is required to maintain compulsory insurance cover…

China Oil Spill Compensation Claims Face Iran Payment Snags

(Photo: China's Ministry of Transport)

The reluctance of foreign banks to deal with Iran could complicate any compensation payments resulting from the collision last week of an Iranian oil tanker and a Chinese cargo ship, sources say. The tanker Sanchi, carrying 136,000 tonnes of highly flammable condensate oil, collided with the Chinese dry cargo vessel CF Crystal on Saturday in the East China Sea, causing an oil spill and a blaze that is still raging four days later. Liability has yet to be established but lawyers…

Thailand Accedes to Conventions Covering Oil Pollution Damage

Photo:  International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Thailand has become the latest State to accede to the international conventions on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC) and the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (Fund). The CLC Convention ensures that compensation is available to people who suffer oil pollution damage from maritime casualties involving oil-carrying ships, and places liability on the owner of the ship from which the polluting oil escaped or was discharged.

Arctic Marine Oil Pollution Prevention: Task Force Meets

Arctic drilling platform: File photo

When the Arctic Council’s Task Force on Arctic Marine Oil Pollution Prevention (TFOPP) met recently in Ottawa, it says it took important steps towards developing the Action Plan for oil pollution prevention mandated by Ministers in Kiruna. The Task Force is focused particularly on potential safety measures to prevent oil pollution from maritime and petroleum activities. The Arctic Council’s Task Force on Arctic Marine Oil Pollution Prevention (TFOPP) held its third meeting in Ottawa on 12-13 June, 2014.

ICCOPR Approves Updated Oil Pollution Research Plan

ICCOPR Logo

The Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research (ICCOPR) unanimously approved the Oil Pollution Research & Technology Plan (OPRTP) for FY2015-2021 at the committee’s quarterly meeting Sept. 29, 2015, in Arlington, Virginia. The purpose of the plan is to provide current assessments of the nation’s oil pollution research needs and priorities. This is the first update to the plan since 1997. "The research needs focus on the tools and technologies employed by the Coast Guard On-Scene Coordinators to address oil spills in the marine environment…

Managing Oil Spills

Pic: International Maritime Organization

International experts have been sharing experiences, new technologies and scientific advancements relating to oil spill response at the International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC) in Long Beach, United States (15-18 May). The theme of the conference is “prevent, prepare, respond and restore”, which fully aligns with  International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s regulatory work to prevent oil spills from occurring and also its work to support countries to be prepared to respond to such incidents.

China’s Oil Pollution Laws Worth Watching

The UK P&I Club offered the following briefing on Chinese marine pollution law. Ship owners and operators trading in Chinese waters face an extensive set of new legal and regulatory requirements governing their roles and responsibilities in oil pollution incidents. China’s Prevention and Control of Marine Pollution from Ships Regulation was implemented on 1st March 2010. It dovetails with the Marine Environment Protection Law of the People’s Republic of China, laying down the principles and outlining the country’s marine pollution legal system. However, the detailed requirements under the Regulation have yet to be revealed. Chinese ministries have other supplementary regulations in the pipeline, such as the management and funding of a ship oil pollution compensation fund.

Chem Spill Clean Up Protocol to Enter Force

The Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Co-operation to Pollution Incidents by Hazardous and Noxious Substances (OPRC-HNS Protocol), 2000, has now achieved enough ratifications for entry into force on 14 June 2007, twelve months after its accession by Portugal, on 14 June 2006, the 15th State to ratify the treaty. The OPRC-HNS Protocol is aimed at providing a global framework for international co-operation in combating major incidents or threats of marine pollution from ships carrying hazardous and noxious substances (HNS), such as chemicals. The OPRC-HNS Protocol follows the principles of the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC), 1990, which itself entered into force in 1995.

Caspian Sea States Cooperate on Pollution Response

Photo: International Maritime Organization (IMO)

International Maritime Organization (IMO) has joined countries and stakeholders concerned with protecting the Caspian Sea from oil pollution at a regional meeting in Bandar-e Anzali, Islamic Republic of Iran (16-20 April). Participants are discussing the implementation of the Aktau Protocol on Regional Preparedness, Response and Cooperation in Combating Oil Pollution Incidents and, in particular, finalization of the Regional Caspian Sea Plan on cooperation in combating oil pollution in emergencies.

Singapore –Bunkers Convention

The Singapore Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) issued a circular reminding the maritime community that the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001 (Bunker Convention) comes into force on 21 November 2008. As of that date, ships having a gross tonnage greater than 1000 may only enter the port of Singapore if they carry on board a Bunker Convention Certificate (BCC) to attest that insurance or other financial security to cover liability for bunker oil pollution damage is in place. Note that oil tankers having a gross tonnage of greater than 1000, either carrying oil in bulk as cargo or with oil residues on board need not carry a BCC since they are already covered by the Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992 (CLC Convention).

OPA 90 Alert – New Limitations on Lessor Liability

Holland & Knight LLP issued a Maritime Alert advising clients of the recent amendment of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) that substantially ameliorates the risk of oil pollution liability for financial lessors. A copy of the Maritime Alert may be obtained from Nancy Hengen, Partner, New York Office [1-212-513-3255 and nancy.hengen@hklaw.com ].

Update on IOPCF Supplementary Fund

The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPCF) issued a News Release

New Rules for Oil Spill Compensation Enter Force

Increased levels of compensation will be available for victims of oil pollution from oil tanker accidents on 3 March 2005 with the entry into force of the 2003 Protocol establishing an International Oil Pollution Compensation Supplementary Fund. The Fund will supplement the compensation available under the 1992 Civil Liability Convention (CLC) and the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (FUND), with an additional, third tier of compensation. Participation is optional and is open to all States which are parties to the 1992 Fund Convention. The total amount of compensation payable for any one incident will be limited to a combined total of 750 million Special Drawing Rights (SDR) (just over US$1…

Exhibition on Risk of Oil Pollution from Ships

Image: Collage by Marinelink

The International Group is collaborating with the International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPC) Funds and other industry organisations to produce an exhibition at the IMO to mark the achievements of the international community over the past 50 years to achieve a sustained reduction in major oil spills from ships; to establish effective systems for preparedness and response if there is an incident; and to create a comprehensive mechanism for providing compensation.

U.S. DOJ: Guilty Plea in Oil Pollution Case

U.S. Shipping Company Convicted For Oil Pollution On High Seas. Horizon Lines, LLC was sentenced Tuesday in front of the Honorable Richard Seeborg after pleading guilty to felony charges concerning violations of international and national oil pollution laws that occurred on a large container ship called the S/S Horizon Enterprise, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. As part of a plea agreement, the company was ordered to pay $1,500,000, with $500,000 of the monies going to environmental projects in the San Francisco Bay area. Horizon Lines pled guilty to two counts of making false statements based on their knowing failure to maintain an accurate Oil Record Book in which all transfers and discharges of oil and oily waste are required to be recorded.

'Oil Spills in Arctic Waters' Published by US ARC

The US Arctic Research Council (ARC) in association with others, reports on research & mitigation measures for oil spills in the Arctic marine area. This “white paper” is a compilation of research on oil spills in ice-covered Arctic waters and recommendations for future work. ARC identify research entities in governmental, nongov- ernmental, industrial, and private organizations, and provide an inventory of research projects. (3) the fate of oil and its effects on the environment. Following this summary is a discussion of the work of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on Oil Pollution Research (ICCOPR), whose mission is to coordinate oil pollution research among the federal agencies.

Water flowing into navigable water is subject to OPA 90

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA 90) applies to oil spills into waters that flow into navigable waters. In the instant case, oil from the bankrupt’s well was discharged into a drainage ditch and then flowed into a bayou. The bayou flows into a canal that eventually flows into the Gulf of Mexico, a navigable water of the United States. After the oil spill, the well owner declared bankruptcy and then opposed the government’s attempt to collect the clean-up costs, contending that the oil did not enter the navigable waters and, thus, OPA 90 was not applicable. The court held that the bayou is sufficiently adjacent to an open body of navigable water to invoke the jurisdiction of the Oil Pollution Act. In the Matter of Needham, No.

Bill to Repeal Liability Limitation of Offshore Oil

Representative Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced a bill (H.R. 5355) to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to repeal the limitation of liability of a responsible party for a discharge or substantial threat of a discharge of oil from an offshore oil facility. Official text of the bill has yet to be posted. (5/20/10). Meanwhile, Representative Blunt (R-MO) introduced a bill (H.R. 5356) to amend the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 to increase the cap on liability for economic damages resulting from an oil spill, and for other purposes. Official text of the bill has yet to be posted. (5/20/10). (Source: Bryant’s Maritime News)

MMS and USCH Sign Oil & Gas Agreement

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Minerals Management Service (MMS) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the USCG specifying which agency will be responsible for certain aspects of oil and natural gas exploration, development, production, and transportation activities on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The MOU identifies 27 areas of responsibilities for both agencies. For example, MMS will be responsible for most drilling and production matters, pipeline operations, emergency shutdown systems, inspection and testing of production and drilling equipment, decommissioning platforms, and investigating oil pollution related to provisions in the OCS Lands Act.

Officials Fear Environmental Repercussion From Sunken Tanker

A giant oil slick from the sunken tanker Erika drifted and widened off the northwestern French coast on Dec. 14, and officials worry that changing winds could push it towards land. A spokesman for maritime authorities said the slick from the broken up tanker Erika, estimated at 9,000 to 10,000 tons of viscous fuel oil, was extending as it absorbed seawater. Officials insisted that ecological disaster cannot be ruled out on the Brittany coast, where the Amoco Cadiz spilled over one million barrels of oil in 1978. The oil slick was some 25 nautical miles south off the tourist island of Belle-Ile, itself about 16 nautical miles south of Brittany's Finistere Peninsula, and drifting eastwards at .6 mph.

Shipwrecks Pose US Sea Pollution Threat

Famous Shipwreck: Photo credit Wiki CCL

New NOAA report presented to the US Coast Guard examines national oil pollution threat from shipwrecks in US waters. The report finds that 36 sunken vessels scattered across the U.S. seafloor could pose an oil pollution threat to the nation's coastal marine resources. Of those, 17 were recommended for further assessment and potential removal of both fuel oil and oil cargo. The sunken vessels are a legacy of more than a century of U.S. commerce and warfare. They include a barge lost in rough seas in 1936…

Hong Kong Tests Oil Spill Response

On Nov. 4, The Marine Department co-ordinated an annual joint exercise in the waters off Tsing Lung Garden, Tuen Mun, to test the response and efficiency of government departments and oil companies in handling oil spills. A Marine Department spokesman said the anti-oil pollution exercise, code-named "Oilex 2008", enabled personnel of related organizations to have key functions in dealing with oil spills and individual and team knowledge, skills and capabilities examined. As well as the Marine Department, five government departments, the Civil Aid Service, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, Government Flying Service, Police Force…

Hurricane Katrina – Oil Pollution Response

The U.S. Coast Guard issued a Press Release updating the response to oil pollution incidents in the Sector New Orleans area of responsibility resulting from Hurricane Katrina. There have been four major spills (over 100,000 gallons); five medium spills (10,000 to 100,000 gallons); and approximately 35 minor spills. The response teams include federal, state, and local government representatives, as well as the private sector. The Coast Guard also released a Photo-Diagram showing the locations of the larger oil spills. Another Press Release summarized pollution response efforts in the Sector Mobile area of responsibility. Source: HK Law

Maritime Reporter Magazine Cover Dec 2017 - The Great Ships of 2017

Maritime Reporter and Engineering News’ first edition was published in New York City in 1883 and became our flagship publication in 1939. It is the world’s largest audited circulation magazine serving the global maritime industry, delivering more insightful editorial and news to more industry decision makers than any other source.

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