Diesel

The conventions apply to “persistent oil” and exclude light oils such as gasoline, light diesel or kerosene. They only apply to Tankers and not to bunkers carried on dry cargo ships. Under the 1992 convention compensation is payable for expenses incurred in taking successful measures against a “grave and imminent threat of pollution” as well as dealing with actual polluting. The overall purpose of the Convention is to establish an international regime on a uniform base of liability for: Damage done by pollution caused by escape or discharge of oil and, cost of measures taken reasonably to mitigate such damage. What CLC does not cover and it was never intended that it should, is the cost of measures taken to avert the threat of an escape of oil, even if no actual discharge, escape or spill has occurred. CLC is designed to cover owners’ liabilities only. This is owners of seagoing ships and not charterers of whatever variety. Its provisions apply only where seagoing vessels are carrying oil as cargo. It does not apply where there is a discharge or escape of oil being used as bunker fuel when on a ballast voyage but it does apply to a bunker ‘spill’ if the involved ship is cargo laden at the time. As has been said, liability is strict but there are certain defined exceptions to liability. In other words, this is a situation of ‘strict liability’ but not one of ‘absolute strict liability’ where, of course, there would be no defence whatsoever. It should be remembered from earlier discussions on strict liability, that the defendant, i.e. the person being sued, must show that he comes within one of the set out defences.