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Bunker Oil Pollution Damage

On 23 March 2001 the IMO adopted the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage. It entered into force on 21 November 2008. By Decision of 19 September 2002, the Council therefore authorised EU Member States to accede to the Convention with a declaration clarifying the Community competence.

The Convention is modelled on the CLC. It provides for a strict liability of the owner of a seagoing vessel for pollution damage caused by any bunker oil on board or originating from the ship in the territory, the territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone or an equivalent zone of any State Party to the Convention, as well as measures taken to prevent or minimise such damage. The shipowner is liable but his liability is limited up to a ceiling calculated in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims 1976 or 1996, as amended (in the text binding in a relevant state).

In relation to the LLMC, however, the Bunkers Convention provides for a considerable improvement: the registered owner of a ship with a tonnage greater than 1000 gt is  obliged to maintain insurance or other financial security to cover for damages from bunker oil pollution up to the amount calculated in accordance with relevant LLMC. Claims for bunker oil pollution damage may be brought directly against the insurer or the person providing financial security.

Most of the EU Member States are already Parties to the Bunkers' Convention.

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