Bunker Convention Cover

Over many years, there have been numerous heavy fuel oil spills from vessels as a result of the escape or discharge of bunker oil. There were challenges with the recovery of the associated cost and damages following a bunker pollution incident. Such challenges included difficulty in enforcing judgments in some flag states, no automatic right to pursue a claim in the state where the spill occurred, extensive legal costs and insufficient insurance cover carried by the registered ship owner.

The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage was adopted in 2001, and entered into force in November of 2008. The Convention ensures that adequate, prompt, and effective compensation is available to those who suffer damage caused by oil carried as ship’s fuel. The Convention impacts vessel owners, bareboat charterers, and managers or operators of vessels that are over 1,000 gross tons, flagged under or entering the ports of any signatory state. These vessels must carry and produce the “Blue Card” certificate, issued by the applicable Flag State, certifying that the ship has evidenced proper insurance or other financial security to cover the liability of the registered owner for pollution damage in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the applicable national or international regime.