National Oil Spill Preparedness and Response Regime

Compensating for Response Costs

Changes continuing under the 1992 Protocols

  • A special limit of liability for owners of small vessels and a substantial increase in the limitation amount. The limit is approximately $7.60 million for a ship not exceeding 5,000 units of gross tonnage, increasing on a linear scale to approximately $151.28 million for ships of 140,000 units of tonnage or over, using the value the SDR at April 1, 2006.
  • An increase in the maximum compensation payable by the 1992 IOPC Fund to $342.09 million, including the compensation payable by the shipowner under the 1992 CLC up to its limit of liability. This includes the compensation levels increase of approximately 50% on November 1, 2003.
  • A simplified procedure for increasing the limitation amounts in the two Conventions by majority decision taken by the Contracting States to the Conventions.
  • An extended geographical scope of application of the Conventions to include the exclusive economic zone or equivalent area of a Contracting State.
  • Pollution damage caused by spills of bunker oil and by cargo residues from unladen tankers on any voyage after carrying a cargo are covered.
  • Expenses incurred for preventative measures are recoverable even when no spill of oil occurs, provided that there was a grave and imminent danger of pollution damage.
  • A new definition of pollution damage retaining the basic wording of the 1969 CLC and 1971 IOPC Fund Convention with the addition of a phrase to clarify that, for environmental damage, only cost incurred for reasonable measures actually undertaken to restore the contaminated environment are included in the concept of pollution damage.
  • Under the 1969 CLC the shipowner cannot limit liability if the incident occurred as a result of the owner's actual fault or privity. Under the 1992 CLC, however, the shipowner is deprived of this right only if it is proved that the pollution damage resulted from the shipowner's personal act or omission, committed with the intent to cause such damage or recklessly and with knowledge that such damage would probably result.
  • Claims for pollution damage under the CLC can be made only against the registered owner of the ship concerned. This does not preclude victims from claiming compensation outside the CLC from persons other than the owner. However, the 1969 CLC prohibits claims against the servants or agents of the owner. The 1992 CLC does the same, but also prohibits claims against the pilot, the charterer (including a bareboat charterer) manager or operator of the ship, or any person carrying out salvage operations or taking preventive measures.