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Summary of the "International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage" is available from the UNEP Register of International Treaties and Other Agreements in the Field of the Environment.

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INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON CIVIL LIABILITY FOR OIL 
POLLUTION DAMAGE

(Brussels, 29 November 1969)

The States Parties to the present Convention,
Conscious of the dangers of pollution posed by the 
worldwide maritime carriage of oil in bulk,
Convinced of the need to ensure that adequate 
compensation is available to persons who suffer damage 
caused by pollution resulting from the escape or 
discharge of oil from ships, Desiring to adopt uniform 
international rules and procedures for determining 
questions of liability and providing adequate 
compensation in such cases,                           

Have agreed as follows:


Article I

For the purposes of this Convention:

1. "Ship" means any sea-going vessel and any seaborne 
craft of any type whatsoever, actually carrying oil in 
bulk as cargo.

2. "Person" means any individual or partnership or any 
public or private body, whether corporate or not, 
including a State or any of its constituent 
subdivisions.

3. "Owner" means the person or persons registered as the 
owner of the ship or, in the absence of registration, 
the person or persons owning the ship. However in the 
case of a ship owned by a State and operated by a 
company which in that State is registered as the ship's 
operator, "owner" shall mean such company.

4. "State of the ship's registry" means in relation to 
registered ships the State of registration of the ship, 
and in relation to unregistered ships the State whose 
flag the ship is flying.

5. "Oil" means any persistent oil such as crude oil, 
fuel oil, heavy diesel oil, lubricating oil and whale 
oil, whether carried on board a ship as cargo or in the 
bunkers of such a ship.

6. "Pollution damage" means loss or damage caused 
outside the ship carrying oil by contamination resulting 
from the escape or discharge of oil from the ship, 
wherever such escape or discharge may occur, and 
includes the costs of preventive measures and further 
loss or damage caused by preventive measures.

7. "Preventive measures" means any reasonable measures 
taken by any person after an incident has occurred to 
prevent or minimize pollution damage.

8. "Incident" means any occurrence, or series of 
occurrences having the same origin, which causes 
pollution damage.

9. "Organization" means the Inter-Governmental Maritime 
Consultative Organization.


Article II

This Convention shall apply exclusively to pollution 
damage caused on the territory including the territorial 
sea of a Contracting State and to preventive measures 
taken to prevent or minimize such damage.


Article III

1. Except as provided in paragraphs 2 and 3 of this 
Article, the owner of a ship at the time of an incident, 
or where the incident consists of a series of 
occurrences at the time of the first such occurrence, 
shall be liable for any pollution damage caused by oil 
which has escaped or been discharged from the ship as a 
result of the incident.

2. No liability for pollution damage shall attach to the 
owner if he proves that the damage:

(a) resulted from an act of war, hostilities, civil war, 
insurrection or 
a natural phenomenon of an exceptional, inevitable and 
irresistible character, or

(b) was wholly caused by an act or omission done with 
intent to cause damage by a third party, or

(c) was wholly caused by the negligence or other 
wrongful act of any Government or other authority 
responsible for the maintenance of lights or other 
navigational aids in the exercise of that function.

3. If the owner proves that the pollution damage 
resulted wholly or partially either from an act or 
omission done with intent to cause damage by the person 
who suffered the damage or from the negligence of that 
person, the owner may be exonerated wholly or partially 
from his liability to such person.

4. No claim for compensation for pollution damage shall 
be made against the owner otherwise than in accordance 
with this Convention. No claim for pollution damage 
under this Convention or otherwise may be made against 
the servants or agents of the owner.

5. Nothing in this Convention shall prejudice any right 
of recourse of the owner against third parties.


Article IV

When oil has escaped or has been discharged from two or 
more ships, and pollution damage results therefrom, the 
owners of all the ships concerned, unless exonerated 
under Article III, shall be jointly and severally liable 
for all such damage which is not reasonably separable.


Article V

1. The owner of a ship shall be entitled to limit his 
liability under this Convention in respect of any one 
incident to an aggregate amount of 2,000 francs for each 
ton of the ship's tonnage. However, this aggregate 
amount shall not in any event exceed 210 million francs.

2. If the incident occurred as a result of the actual 
fault or privity of the owner, he shall not be entitled 
to avail himself of the limitation provided in paragraph 
1 of this Article.

3. For the purpose of availing himself of the benefit of 
limitation provided for in paragraph 1 of this Article 
the owner shall constitute a fund for the total sum 
representing the limit of his liability with the Court 
or other competent authority of any one of the 
Contracting States in which action is brought under 
Article IX. The fund can be constituted either by 
depositing the sum or by producing a bank guarantee or 
other guarantee, acceptable under the legislation of the 
Contracting State where the fund is constituted, and 
considered to be adequate by the Court or another 
competent authority.

4. The fund shall be distributed among the claimants in 
proportion to the amounts of their established claims.

5. If before the fund is distributed the owner or any of 
his servants or agents or any person providing him 
insurance or other financial security has as a result of 
the incident in question, paid compensation for 
pollution damage, such person shall, up to the amount he 
has paid, acquire by subrogation the rights which the 
person so compensated would have enjoyed under this 
Convention.

6. The right of subrogation provided for in paragraph 5 
of this Article may also be exercised by a person other 
than those mentioned therein in respect of any amount of 
compensation for pollution damage which he may have paid 
but only to the extent that such subrogation is permit-
ted under the applicable national law.

7. Where the owner or any other person establishes that 
he may be compelled to pay at a later date in whole or 
in part any such amount of compensation, with regard to 
which such person would have enjoyed a right of 
subrogation under paragraphs 5 or 6 of this Article, had 
the compensation been paid before the fund was 
distributed, the Court or other competent authority of 
the State where the fund has been constituted may order 
that a sufficient sum shall be provisionally set aside 
to enable such person at such later date to enforce his 
claim against the fund.

8. Claims in respect of expenses reasonably incurred or 
sacrifices reasonably made by the owner voluntarily to 
prevent or minimize pollution damage shall rank equally 
with other claims against the fund.

9. The franc mentioned in this Article shall be a unit 
consisting of sixty-five and a half milligrams of gold 
of millesimal fineness nine hundred. The amount 
mentioned in paragraph I of this Article shall be 
converted into the national currency of the State in 
which the fund is being constituted on the basis of the 
official value of that currency by reference to the unit 
defined above on the date of the constitution of the 
fund.

10. For the purpose of this Article the ship's tonnage 
shall be the net tonnage of the ship with the addition 
of the amount deducted from the gross tonnage on account 
of engine room space for the purpose of ascertaining the 
net tonnage. In the case of a ship which cannot be 
measured in accordance with the normal rules of tonnage 
measurement, the ship's tonnage shall be deemed to be 40 
per cent of the weight in tons (of 2240 lbs) of oil 
which the ship is capable of carrying.

11. The insurer or other person providing financial 
security shall be entitled to constitute a fund in 
accordance with this Article on the same conditions and 
having the same effect as if it were constituted by the 
owner. Such a fund may be constituted even in the event 
of the actual fault or privity of the owner but its 
constitution shall in that case not prejudice the rights 
of any claimant against the owner.


Article VI

1. Where the owner, after an incident, has constituted a 
fund in accordance with Article V, and is entitled to 
limit his liability,

(a) no person having a claim for pollution damage 
arising out of that incident shall be entitled to 
exercise any right against any other assets of the owner 
in respect of such claim;

(b) the Court or other competent authority of any 
Contracting State shall order the release of any ship or 
other property belonging to the owner which has been 
arrested in respect of a claim for pollution damage 
arising out of that incident, and shall similarly 
release any bail or other security furnished to avoid 
such arrest. 2. The foregoing shall, however, only apply 
if the claimant has access to the Court administering 
the fund and the fund is actually available in respect 
of his claim.


Article VII

1. The owner of a ship registered in a Contracting State 
and carrying more than 2,000 tons of oil in bulk as 
cargo shall be required to maintain insurance or other 
financial security, such as the guarantee of a bank or a 
certificate delivered by an international compensation 
fund in the sums fixed by applying the limits of 
liability prescribed in Article V, paragraph 1 to cover 
his liability for pollution damage under this 
Convention.

2. A certificate attesting that insurance or other 
financial security is in force in accordance with the 
provisions of this Convention shall be issued to each 
ship. It shall be issued or certified by the appropriate 
authority of the State of the ships registry after 
determining that the requirements of paragraph 1 of this 
Article have been complied with. This certificate shall 
be in the form of the annexed model and shall contain 
the following particulars:

(a) name of ship and port of registration;

(b) name and principal place of business of owner;

(c) type of security;

(d) name and principal place of business of insurer or 
other person giving security and, where appropriate, 
place of business where the insurance or security is 
established;

(e) period of validity of certificate which shall not be 
longer than the period of validity of the insurance or 
other security.

3. The certificate shall be in the official language or 
languages of the issuing State. If the language used is 
neither English nor French, the text shall include a 
translation into one of these languages.

4. The certificate shall be carried on board the ship 
and a copy shall be deposited with the authorities who 
keep the record of the ship's registry.

5. An insurance or other financial security shall not 
satisfy the requirements of this Article if it can 
cease, for reasons other than the expiry of the period 
of validity of the insurance or security specified in 
the certificate under paragraph 2 of this Article, 
before three months have elapsed from the date on which 
notice of its termination is given to the authorities 
referred to in paragraph 4 of this Article, unless the 
certificate has been surrendered to these authorities or 
a new certificate has been issued within the said 
period. The foregoing provisions shall similarly apply 
to any modification which results in the insurance or 
security no longer satisfying the requirements of this 
Article.

6. The State of registry shall, subject to the 
provisions of this Article, determine the conditions of 
issue and validity of the certificate.

7. Certificates issued or certified, under the authority 
of a Contracting State shall be accepted by other 
Contracting States for the purposes of this Convention 
and shall be regarded by other Contracting States as 
having the same force as certificates issued or 
certified by them. A Contracting State may at any time 
request consultation with the State of a ship's registry 
should it believe that the insurer or guarantor named in 
the certificate is not financially capable of meeting 
the obligations imposed by this Convention.

8. Any claim for compensation for pollution damage may 
be brought directly against the insurer or other person 
providing financial security for the owner's liability 
for pollution damage. In such case the defendant may, 
irrespective of the actual fault or privity of the 
owner, avail himself of the limits of liability 
prescribed in Article V, paragraph 1. He may further 
avail himself of the defences (other than the bankruptcy 
or winding up of the owner) which the owner himself 
would have been entitled to invoke. Furthermore, the 
defendant may avail himself of the defence that the 
pollution damage resulted from the wilful misconduct of 
the owner himself, but the defendant shall not avail 
himself of any other defence which he might have been 
entitled to invoke in proceedings brought by the owner 
against him. The defendant shall in any event have the 
right to require the owner to be joined in the 
proceedings. 9. Any sums provided by insurance or by 
other financial security maintained in accordance with 
paragraph 1 of this Article shall be available 
exclusively for the satisfaction of claims under this 
Convention.

10. A Contracting State shall not permit a ship under 
its flag to which this Article applies to trade unless a 
certificate has been issued under paragraph 2 or 12 of 
this Article.

11. Subject to the provisions of this Article, each 
Contracting State shall ensure, under its national 
legislation, that insurance or other security to the 
extent specified in paragraph 1 of this Article is in 
force in respect of any ship, wherever registered, 
entering or leaving a port in its territory, or arriving 
at or leaving an off-shore terminal in its territorial 
sea, if the ship actually carries more than 2.000 tons 
of oil in bulk as cargo.

12. If insurance or other financial security is not 
maintained in respect of a ship owned by a Contracting 
State, the provisions of this Article relating thereto 
shall not be applicable to such ship, but the ship shall 
carry a certificate issued by the appropriate authori-
ties of the State of the ship's registry stating that 
the ship is owned by that State and that the ship's 
liability is covered within the limits prescribed by 
Article V paragraph 1. Such a certificate shall follow 
as closely as practicable the model prescribed by 
paragraph 2 of this Article.


Article VIII

Rights of compensation under this Convention shall be 
extinguished unless an action is brought thereunder 
within three years from the date when the damage 
occurred. However, in no case shall an action be brought 
after six years from the date of the incident which 
caused the damage. Where this incident consists of a 
series of occurrences, the six years' period shall run 
from the date of the first such occurrence.


Article IX

1. Where an incident has caused pollution damage in the 
territory including the territorial sea of one or more 
Contracting States, or preventive measures have been 
taken to prevent or minimize pollution damage in such 
territory including the territorial sea, actions for 
compensation may only be brought in the Courts of any 
such Contracting State or States. Reasonable notice of 
any such action shall be given to the defendant.

2. Each Contracting State shall ensure that its Courts 
possess the necessary jurisdiction to entertain such 
actions for compensation. 3. After the fund has been 
constituted in accordance with Article V the Courts of 
the State in which the fund is constituted shall be 
esclusively competent to determine all matters relating 
to the apportionment and distribution of the fund.


Article X

1. Any judgment given by a Court with jurisdiction in 
accordance with Article IX which is enforceable in the 
State of origin where it is no longer subject to 
ordinary forms of review, shall be recognized 
in any Contracting State, except:

(a) where the judgment was obtained by fraud; or

(b) where the defendant was not given reasonable notice 
and a fair opportunity to present his case.

2. A judgment recognized under paragraph I of this 
Article shall be enforceable in each Contracting State 
as soon as the formalities required in that State have 
been complied with. The formalities shall not permit the 
merits of the case to be re-opened.


Article XI

1. The provisions of this Convention shall not apply to 
warships or other ships owned or operated by a State and 
used, for the time being, only on Government non-
commercial service.

2. With respect to ships owned by a Contracting State 
and used for commercial purposes, each State shall be 
subject to suit in the jurisdictions set forth in 
Article IX and shall waive all defences based on its 
status as a sovereign State.


Article XII

This Convention shall supersede any International 
Conventions in force or open for signature, ratification 
or accession at the date on which the Convention is 
opened for signature, but only to the extent that such 
Conventions would be in conflict with it; however, 
nothing in this Article shall affect the obligations of 
Contracting States to non-Contracting States arising 
under such International Conventions.


Article XIII

1. The present Convention shall remain open for 
signature until 31 December 1970 and shall thereafter 
remain open for accession.

2. States Members of the United Nations or any of the 
Specialized Agencies or of the International Atomic 
Energy Agency or Parties to the Statute of the 
International Court of Justice may become Parties to 
this Convention by:

(a) signature without reservation as to ratification, 
acceptance or approval;

(b) signature subject to ratification, acceptance or 
approval followed by ratification, acceptance or 
approval; or

(c) accession.


Article XIV

1. Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall 
be effected by the deposit of a formal instrument to 
that effect with the Secretary-General of the 
Organization.

2. Any instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval 
or accession deposited after the entry into force of an 
amendment to the present Convention with respect to all 
existing Contracting States, or after the completion of 
all measures required for the entry into force of the 
amendment with respect to those Contracting States shall 
be deemed to apply to the Convention as notified by the 
amendment.


Article XV

1. The present Convention shall enter into force on the 
ninetieth day following the date on which Governments of 
eight States including five States each with not less 
than 1,000,000 gross tons of tanker tonnage have either 
signed it without reservation as to ratification, 
acceptance or approval or have deposited instruments of 
ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the 
Secretary-General of the Organization.

2. For each State which subsequently ratifies, accepts, 
approves or accedes to it the present Convention shall 
come into force on the ninetieth day after deposit by 
such State of the appropriate instrument.


Article XVI

1. The present Convention may be denounced by any 
Contracting State at any time after the date on which 
the Convention comes into force for that State.

2. Denunciation shall be effected by the deposit of an 
instrument with the Secretary-General of the 
Organization.

3. A denunciation shall take effect one year, or such 
longer period as may be specified in the instrument of 
denunciation, after its deposit with the Secretary-
General of the Organization.


Article XVII

1. The United Nations, where it is the administering 
authority for a territory, or any Contracting State 
responsible for the international relations of a 
territory, shall as soon as possible consult with the 
appropriate authorities of such territory or take such 
other measures as may be appropriate, in order to extend 
the present Convention to that territory and may at any 
time by notification in writing to the Secretary-General 
of the Organization declare that the present Convention 
shall extend to such territory.

2. The present Convention shall, from the date of 
receipt of the notification or from such other date as 
may be specified in the notification, extend to the 
territory named therein.

3. The United Nations, or any Contracting State which 
has made a declaration under paragraph 1 of this Article 
may at any time after the date on which the Convention 
has been so extended to any territory declare by 
notification in writing to the Secretary-General of the 
Organization that the present Convention shall cease to 
extend to any such territory named in the notification.

4. The present Convention shall cease to extend to any 
territory mentioned in such notification one year, or 
such longer period as may be specified therein, after 
the date of receipt of the notification by the 
Secretary-General of the Organization.


Article XVIII

1. A Conference for the purpose of revising or amending 
the present Convention may be convened by the 
Organization.

2. The Organization shall convene a Conference of the 
Contracting States for revising or amending the present 
Convention at the request of not less than one-third of 
the Contracting States.


Article XIX

1. The present Convention shall be deposited with the 
Secretary-General of the Organization.

2. The Secretary-General of the Organization shall:

(a) inform all States which have signed or acceded to 
the Convention of
(i) each new signature or deposit of instrument together 
with the date thereof;
(ii) the deposit of any instrument of denunciation of 
this Convention together with the date of the deposit;
(iii) the extension of the present Convention to any 
territory under paragraph 1 of Article XVII and of the 
termination of any such extension under the provisions 
of paragraph 4 of that Article stating in each case the 
date on which the present Convention has been or will 
cease to be so extended;

(b) transmit certified true copies of the present 
Convention to all Signatory States and to all States 
which accede to the present Convention.


Article XX

As soon as the present Convention comes into force, the 
text shall be transmitted by the Secretary-General of 
the Organization to the Secretariat of the United 
Nations for registration and publication in accordance 
with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.


Article XXI

The present Convention is established in a single copy 
in the English and French languages, both texts being 
equally authentic. Official translations in the Russian 
and Spanish languages shall be prepared and deposited 
with the signed original.

In Witness whereof the undersigned being duly authorized 
by their respective Governments for that purpose have 
signed the present Convention.

Done at Brussels this twenty-ninth day of November 1969.


Annex Certificate of Insurance or Other Financial 
Security in Respect of Civil Liability for Oil Pollution 
Damage omissis.