Aug 8, 2009

Agreement reached over Pacific Adventurer oil spill

Agreement reached over Pacific Adventurer oil spill

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

August 8 2009

The Australian and Queensland Governments have struck an agreement with Swire Shipping over financial issues relating to the oil spill from the Pacific Adventurer off the Queensland coast earlier this year.

Under the agreement, Swire Shipping will provide $25 million for compensation of valid claims arising from the oil spill, towards a court administered limitation fund and a donation to a trust specially established to help improve marine protection and maritime safety.

All valid private claimants and local governments will be given full priority for compensation through the court administered limitation fund.

The $25 million offered by Swire Shipping is significantly more than its legal obligation of $17.5 million.

Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh said, “Queensland will not be out of pocket for the reasonable costs of this incident.

“This agreement provides the framework for compensating private claimants and the Queensland Government for the impact of the oil spill.

“This deal delivers what I was determined to deliver – no cost to the Queensland taxpayer.”

Federal Minister for Transport, Anthony Albanese said, “This is a good outcome and I’d like to thank all parties involved for the maturity shown in negotiating this agreement.

“This agreement means that Australian taxpayers will not have to pay for the costs of this incident.

“The shipping company has agreed to pay more than its current legal obligations.”

“In addition, the Australian Government has already initiated proceedings at the International Maritime Organisation to increase the limit to shipowners’ liability for the future.”

Under the National Plan covering oil spills such as this, any shortfall in compensation for reasonable clean-up costs incurred by the Queensland Government will be reimbursed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

The AMSA will recoup any such payments from the shipping industry in the form of a small increase in the Protection of the Sea Levy, consistent with the internationally-recognised polluter pays principle.