Oct 16, 2009

New compensation regime for oil tanker spills

New compensation regime for oil tanker spills

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP

The Minister for Infrastructure, Transport,

Regional Development and Local Government

Leader of the House

Member for Grayndler

October 16 2009

Australia has this week joined an international fund that provides substantial compensation in the unlikely event of oil tanker spilling its load off our coastline.

The new regime – the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund – more than triples the amount of compensation available from $380 million to $1.4 billion.

In the event of a major spill from an oil tanker, monies from the Fund may be used to cover the clean-up costs, pay compensation to affected industries as well as help with the recovery of marine environments and coastal communities.

In recent years, major oil spills off the coasts of Spain, South Korea and France proved the amount of compensation afforded under the old scheme was insufficient, with claimants unable to recover the full amount of their approved compensation.

Our decision to become part of the new fund makes good on the Government’s promise to do more to protect our nation’s fragile environmental assets for current and future generations.

Every year 200 oil tankers and chemical carriers navigate through Australian waters, near environmental icons such as the Great Barrier Reef and Ningaloo Reef.

The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund is supported by a multilateral agreement which levies oil importers to fund an insurance scheme for the victims of oil spills.

These levies are paid by the oil importers of 24 countries including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

In Australia, companies liable to make contributions to the fund will include refiners of petroleum products and some of the major resource companies.

Following the passage of the Protection of the Sea Legislation Amendment Bill 2008 last year, Australia is now a full member of Protocol of 2003 to the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage.