Oil pollution damage payments to be raised in 2005, UN maritime agency says

10 December 2004

Damage payments for an oil spill will be raised substantially and capped at just over $1 trillion dollars when a new supplementary fund is created early next March now that the legal protocol establishing it has enough States parties, the United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) has reported.

With Spain becoming the eighth government to ratify the instrument last Friday, the Fund will be launched three months later, on 3 March 2005.

The payout for any single incident will be limited to 750 million Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), an amount in an International Monetary Fund (IMF) basket of currencies equivalent to $1.152 trillion.

Without that supplement, Japan received for a 1997 incident and France for a 1999 spill a total of 292.77 million SDRs each, or $397.1 million.

"With the entry into force of this Protocol, IMO has substantially enhanced the compensation available under the 1992 Convention," the agency said, referring to the Civil Liability Convention. "The supplementary scheme introduced by the 2003 Protocol should therefore ensure, for the foreseeable future, that victims of oil pollution damage will be fully compensated for their losses," it said.


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