Today there are two separate regimes of liability for oil pollution damage: the international regime, which is based on multilateral conventions, and the autonomous United States regime. After the US Administration’s decision to withdraw from the international system (1989), the US Congress enacted the 1990 Oil Pollution Act (OPA). This piece of legislation was passed in the aura of public demand for stringent regulation of oil pollution damage to marine environment. The OPA allows states to enact laws that would furnish greater protection to the injured parties than federal law. The US is a known critic of the international regime due to its low liability limits and exclusion of environmental damage. Accordingly, there are numerous differences between the US regime and the international one. The OPA has a wider scope as it covers also oil spilled from facilities and bunker oilspills. Furthermore, the US legislation offers superior protection to the injured as it adopts a wider definition of oil pollution damage. Thus, the Author argues, the OPA embodies the polluter pays principle (PPP) to a greater extent than the international system
In 1999 tanker Erica, flying Maltese flag, sank in French exclusive economic zone, spilling 20 000 tones of oil into the sea and polluting 400 km of French shore. In 2008 French court held the defendants liable for reckless negligence in criminal proceedings, with appellate and cassation courts ruling in 2010 and 2012 respectively. The author discusses those judgments. The courts have considered the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (1992), the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (1971) and French Law No. 83‒583 of 5 July 1983. The rulings have met considerable criticism with respect to issues of French jurisdiction and channelling of liability. It was argued that criminal courts cannot give verdicts on civil liability for oil pollution damage. The article also covers classification societies’ liability for certifying ship’s seaworthiness.
On 23 April 2014 the 2002 Protocol to the Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by the Sea (PAL 2002) entered into force. The purpose of the Protocol is to improve legal standing of the passenger. The author discusses legislative options as to the future shape of Articles 181 and 182 of the Maritime Code if PAL 2002 is to be ratified by Poland. The first option is to make the 2002 Athens Convention control domestic carriage of passengers, which currently remains outside of the scope of Regulation (EC) No 329/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents, and to exclude compulsory insurance or other financial security within limits prescribed by the Convention. The second option is to apply the Convention liability mechanism to carriage by Class C, Class D and Class B vessels.
The article looks into a recently developed concept of international interest which is intended as a replacement for traditional securities such as ship mortgages and maritime liens. The regulation is being introduced by Cape Town Convention on International Interest in Mobile Equipment together with one of the protocols. The Cape Town Treaty has been welcomed by 60 signatures, including the European Union and the United States, and it has already proven itself in the aircraft industry. The author discusses the Cape Town Treaty’s chances for wider adoption against the backdrop of the 1926 Brussels Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages, the 1967 Brussels International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules relating to Maritime Liens and Mortgages and the 1993 Geneva International Convention on Maritime Liens and Mortgages.
This article aims to discuss the notion of environmental damage under the CLC 1992 and FUND 1992 as stated in the new Guidelines for Presenting Claims for Environmental Damage prepared by the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds. That approach is contrasted with the solution adopted in the United States of America under the OPA. Particular attention is given to the problems of compensation for lost services of the environment, as well as providing alternative environment as a restoration measure. The judgments of French and Spanish courts in the Erika and Prestige cases are discussed, raising questions as to suitability of the CLC 1992/FUND 1992 system.