Article: Some recent developments regarding liability for damage resulting from oil pollution – from the perspective of an EU Member State

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INTRODUCTION

Pollution damage caused by spills from oil tankers is still, unfortunately, an important threat to the marine environment and various (economic) activities related to the coast. Because of the scale of a major pollution incident, the environment and livelihood of many thousands of people can easily be severely affected, as was most recently illustrated by the ‘Erika’ incident (1999) and the ‘Prestige’ incident (2002). Compensation for pollution damage caused by spills from oil tankers is governed by an international regime which was first set up, under the auspices of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), in the aftermath of the ‘Torrey Canyon’ incident in 1967. In the years after that, most EU Member States became parties to this regime.1 The 1969 Civil Liability Convention and 1971 Fund convention entered into force in 1975 and 1978 respectively. In 1992 two Protocols to these Conventions were adopted, and the amended Conventions are known as the 1992 Civil Liability Convention (1992 CLC) and the 1992 Fund Convention (1992 FC).2 Most EU Member States have joined the 1992 Conventions very quickly and denounced the 1969 CLC and 1971 FC some time after that.3 The present version of the regime entered into force on 30 May 1996.

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