What’s A Ship? Asks IOPC

 oil, oil pollution, oil spill, oil tanker  Comments Off on What’s A Ship? Asks IOPC
Nov 122011

The end of Erika, twelve years to reach a conclusion

At an assembly of the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds held on 24-28 October 2011, the IOPC decided to establish a working group under the chairmanship of Denmark to have a closer look at what ships are covered by the right to be compensated for oil pollution damage.

The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds, IOPC Funds, consists of three intergovernmental organisations – the 1971 Fund, the 1992 Fund and the Supplementary Fund – which provide compensation for oil pollution damage resulting from spills of persistent oil from tankers.

The working group, which is chaired by Deputy Director-General Birgit Sølling Olsen, is to examine the various interpretations of what ships are covered by the Funds conventions. On this basis, the working group is to look into what consequences the various interpretations have for the compensation coverage and the obligation to contribute to the Fund since only ships defined as “ships” under the conventions can receive compensation. It is expected that the first working group meeting will be held in connection with the next meeting of the IOPC Fund in April 2012.
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Prestige judgement “Flawed – ECHR has badly let down seafarers”

 maritime safety, oil pollution, oil spill, oil tanker, Pollution  Comments Off on Prestige judgement “Flawed – ECHR has badly let down seafarers”
Oct 172010

imagePrestige appears to be something that the European Court of Human Rights, ECHR, has a problem earning. Its evident support for Spanish practices in the harassment of seafarers, in particular Captain Apostolos Mangouras of Prestige ill-fame is sufficiently irrational for the International and European Transport Workers Federations to send off a broadside at the weekend calling the ECHr’s decision”deeply flawed”.

In 2002, as Mangouras fought bravely to save his ship from disaster, French and Spanish authorities decided that it was better for the ship to break in two in rough weather and pollute their beaches that allow the vessel a safe haven. It was, at the very least, a decision of outrageous inhumanity. Spain got its polluted beaches, an inevitable and foreseeable result of its decision, and promptly arrested Mangouras.

Mangouras, now well into his late 60s, has yet to be tied before Spain’s criminal courts but was only released from detention in return for a blazingly irrational $4m bail and house arrest in Greece.

At least they stopped short of having him renditioned to Quantanamo Bay.

The ITF/ETC announcement captured some of the Kafka-esque flavour of Captain Mangouras’s situation:

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Website of Note: Tetley’s Maritime and Admiralty Law

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Apr 252008

Professor William Tetley of Canada’s McGill University’s Faculty of Law has an often tongue in cheek site (How to Become a Maritime Lawyer Without Even Trying) and insight into some major cases like the Prestige from a maritime law perspective.

If, like me, you delight in trivia and oddities try this : “If goods on board a ship shall be damaged by rats, and there be no cat in the ship, the managing owner is bound to make compensation. But if the ship has had cats on board in the place where she was loaded, and after she has sailed away the said cats have died, and the rats have damaged the goods, if the managing owner of the ship shall buy cats and put them on board as soon as they arrive at a place where they can find them, he is not bound to make good the said losses, for they have not happened through his default.” Its part of an article titled “If a ship is lost to a peril of the sea, How Can You Say She Was Seaworthy?” by John Weale, which you’ll find at the Tetley website.