Marine Casualty. Pollution. Provisions that will impact upon the liability and response of interested parties. Relevant law and conventions in force


In terms of prevention of pollution by vessels, Spain has ratified the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships as modified by its Protocol
(MARPOL 73/78). In terms of liability for damages caused by marine pollution, we would underline the 1992 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC 92) and the International Fund for Compensation (FUND 92) as modified by its Protocol (FUND/PROT/2003), as well as the 2001 International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (BUNKERS 2001) signed in London on 23 March 2001.

The preferred implementation of International Conventions on the matter in force in Spain (CLC 92, FUND/PROT/03 and BUNKERS 2001) is (unnecessarily) reiterated by the Spanish Shipping Law 14/2014. The LNM also regulates civil liability arising from damages resulting from pollution from vessels in cases not covered by the scope of the aforementioned Conventions. The LNM departs from the regime set out by CLC 92 in one aspect, as it channels liability towards the “shipowner, proprietor or licensee of the vessel at the moment in which the pollution producing event takes place” (article 385). This liability is, of course, quasi-strict and limited, and the LNM establishes insurance as mandatory and direct action against the insurer of civil liability up to the limit of the insured sum. Finally, in terms of environmental liability, Spain incorporated Directive 2004/35/EC to its legal system by means of Act 26/2007 of 23 October, which created an administrative regime of environmental liability characterised by unlimited liability and the principles of the European Union Treaty of “damage prevention” and “who pollutes, pays”.

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