Did you know that, in the past 10 years, the number of major oil spills from ships has been more than halved, while the total quantity of trade transported by sea has almost doubled?
However, in spite of best efforts, some spills continue to occur. When this happens, it is necessary to ensure that effective and co-ordinated response mechanisms are in place and an adequate liability and compensation regime is available to recompense those affected.
IMO’s International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, 1990 (OPRC 1990) provides the framework for facilitating international co-operation and mutual assistance in preparing for and responding to major oil pollution incidents. OPRC 1990 recognizes that successful preparedness and response relies on good co-operation between government and industry. There are numerous examples of how this co-operation has served to strengthen the collective capacity for oil spill response around the world.
Some seventeen years on, with 90 contracting parties representing over 65% of the world’s tonnage, OPRC 1990 is widely considered to be a great success. Under the provisions of the HNS Protocol, which entered into force in June 2007, this regulatory framework has been extended to cover releases of hazardous and noxious substances.