Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage
INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON CIVIL LIABILITY FOR OIL POLLUTION DAMAGE (Brussels, 29 November 1969)
The States Parties to the present Convention, conscious of the dangers of pollution posed by the worldwide maritime carriage of oil in bulk, convinced of the need to ensure that adequate compensation is available to persons who suffer damage caused by pollution resulting from the escape or discharge of oil from ships, desiring to adopt uniform international rules and procedures for determining questions of liability and providing adequate compensation in such cases,
For the purposes of this Convention:
1. “Ship” means any sea-going vessel and any sea borne craft of any type whatsoever, actually carrying oil in bulk as cargo.
2. “Person” means any individual or partnership or any public or private body, whether corporate or not, including a State or any of its constituent subdivisions.
3. “Owner” means the person or persons registered as the owner of the ship or, in the absence of registration, the person or persons owning the ship. However in the case of a ship owned by a State and operated by a company, which in that State is registered as the ship’s operator, “owner” shall mean such company.
4. “State of the ship’s registry” means in relation to registered ships the State of registration of the ship, and in relation to unregistered ships the State whose flag the ship is flying.
5. “Oil” means any persistent oil such as crude oil, fuel oil, heavy diesel oil, lubricating oil and whale oil, whether carried on board a ship as cargo or in the bunkers of such a ship.
6. “Pollution damage” means loss or damage caused outside the ship carrying oil by contamination resulting from the escape or discharge of oil from the ship, wherever such escape or discharge may occur, and includes the costs of preventive measures and further loss or damage caused by preventive measures.
7. “Preventive measures” means any reasonable measures taken by any person after an incident has occurred to prevent or minimize pollution damage.
8. “Incident” means any occurrence, or series of occurrences having the same origin, which causes pollution damage.
9. “Organization” means the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (today International maritime Organisation)
This Convention shall apply exclusively to pollution
damage caused on the territory including the territorial sea of a
1. Except as provided in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this Article, the owner of a ship at the time of an incident, or where the incident consists of a series of occurrences at the time of the first such occurrence, shall be liable for any pollution damage caused by oil which has escaped or been discharged from the ship as a result of the incident.
2. No liability for pollution damage shall attach to the owner if he proves that the damage:
(a) resulted from an act of war, hostilities, civil war, insurrection or a natural phenomenon of an exceptional, inevitable and irresistible character, or
(b) was wholly caused by an act or omission done with intent to cause damage by a third party, or
(c) was wholly caused by the negligence or other wrongful act of any Government or other authority responsible for the maintenance of lights or other navigational aids in the exercise of that function.
3. If the owner proves that the pollution damage resulted wholly or partially either from an act or omission done with intent to cause damage by the person who suffered the damage or from the negligence of that person, the owner may be exonerated wholly or partially from his liability to such person.
4. No claim for compensation for pollution damage shall be made against the owner otherwise than in accordance with this Convention. No claim for pollution damage under this Convention or otherwise may be made against the servants or agents of the owner.
5. Nothing in this Convention shall prejudice any right of recourse of the owner against third parties.
When oil has escaped or has been discharged from two or more ships, and pollution damage results therefrom, the owners of all the ships concerned, unless exonerated under Article III, shall be jointly and severally liable for all such damage which is not reasonably separable.
1. The owner of a ship shall be entitled to limit his liability under this Convention in respect of any one incident to an aggregate amount of 2,000 francs for each ton of the ship’s tonnage. However, this aggregate amount shall not in any event exceed 210 million francs.
2. If the incident occurred as a result of the actual fault or privity of the owner, he shall not be entitled to avail himself of the limitation provided in paragraph 1 of this Article.
The franc mentioned in this Article shall be a unit consisting of sixty-five and a half milligrams of gold of millesimal fineness nine hundred. The amount mentioned in paragraph I of this Article shall be converted into the national currency of the State in which the fund is being constituted on the basis of the official value of that currency by reference to the unit defined above on the date of the constitution of the fund.
10. For the purpose of this Article the ship’s tonnage shall be the net tonnage of the ship with the addition of the amount deducted from the gross tonnage on account of engine room space for the purpose of ascertaining the net tonnage. In the case of a ship which cannot be measured in accordance with the normal rules of tonnage measurement, the ship’s tonnage shall be deemed to be 40 per cent of the weight in tons (of 2240 lbs) of oil which the ship is capable of carrying.
A certificate attesting that insurance or other financial security is in force in accordance with the provisions of this Convention shall be issued to each ship. It shall be issued or certified by the appropriate authority of the State of the ships registry after determining that the requirements of paragraph 1 of this Article have been complied with. This certificate shall be in the form of the annexed model and shall contain the following particulars:
(a) name of ship and port of registration;
(b) name and principal place of business of owner;
(c) type of security;
(d) name and principal place of business of insurer or other person giving security and, where appropriate, place of business where the insurance or security is established;
(e) period of validity of certificate which shall not be longer than the period of validity of the insurance or other security.
The certificate shall be carried on board the ship and a copy shall be deposited with the authorities that keep the record of the ship’s registry.