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Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage


Malika Gunasekera

This book deals with the liability conventions brought into existence by the International Maritime Organization and concentrates on the newly adopted instrument dealing with bunker oil pollution as an area of great concern for every stakeholder involved in shipping business. The work covers a wide spectrum ranging from the Convention itself to its scope of application, liable and aggrieved parties, jurisdiction, requirements of liability and admissibility of claims, defences and exoneration from liability. It addresses many areas of interest and of importance to international and national legal advisors, lawyers, law students and anyone interested in the relevant field such as shipowners, charterers, shipbrokers, ship personnel and associated contractors and sub-contractors.


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Chapter 1: The Convention 29


29 Chapter 1: The Convention The international maritime law for liability and compensation opened up a new chapter with the adoption of the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 200146 under the auspices of the International Ma- ritime Organization, recognizing formally the importance of imposing liability for bunker oil pollution damage caused by ships and compensating victims of such damage in consequence. The much awaited need for an independent exclu- sive regime ended up successfully due to great knowledge, expertise and highly controversial legislative procedure that existed in the Assembly and in the Legal Committee47 in general with tremendous encouragement, support and commit- ment of participated States, governmental and non-governmental organizations and interested entities.48 Persuasive efforts of the Government of Australia led to propose the impor- tance of having a free standing treaty for bunker oil pollution damage having un- derstood its urgency in international maritime activities, after being victimized from a spill of three hundred tons of heavy fuel oil by a bulk carrier resulted near its own coast.49 This disastrous occurrence appeared as one of its most expensive oil spill response ever faced by Australia,50 and furthermore, the lack of interna- tional legislative instruments to deal with the matter together with insufficient insurance covers, compelled it to forward this proposal. Number of States made submissions in favour of the Australian proposal forwarding numerous evidences as to the gravities of damages that bunker oil originating from ships could cause on and around the marine...

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