h1

Anti-oil pollution bill enacted into law

June 17, 2007

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed into law Republic Act (RA) 9483 or the Oil Pollution Compensation Act which penalizes oil pollution damage and seeks to immediately compensate those who suffer from it.

Arroyo signed the measure on June 2, 2007, before she left for Rome, Portugal, and China. The bill was supposed to lapse into law on June 4.

The new law seeks to implement the provisions of the 1992 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage and the 1992 International Convention on the establishment of an international fund for compensation for oil pollution damage. It was an offshoot of the oil spill that hit Guimaras island last year due the sinking of the motor tanker Solar 1 ferry.

RA 9483 provides that the ship owner shall be liable for the pollution damage, including the expenses in sea and on-shore clean-up, the loss of earnings suffered by owners or users of the contaminated property and those who rely on it, the damage to human health and loss of life, and the environmental damage and cost of restoration.

However, the owner of the vessel will not be held liable if the incident resulted from war, hostilities, rebellion, or natural phenomenon; if it was caused intentionally by a third party; and if it was caused by negligence of government, enforcement agencies, or if caused intentionally by those who suffered the damage.

The law requires a ship owner to constitute a fund representing the limit of his liability with the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to cover incidents causing pollution damage. Any claim for compensation shall be brought directly to the Regional Trial Court (RTC).

All shop owners shall be required annually by the Marina to maintain insurance or other financial security for pollution damage. A certificate attesting that insurance or any other financial security shall be issued to each ship carrying more than 2,000 tons of oil in bulk.

Ships carrying more than 2,000 tons of oil in bulk cargo shall not be allowed entry into Philippine territory or its exclusive economic zone without a certificate of insurance or financial security for pollution damage.

Any person who has received more than 150,000 tons of contributing oil in a calendar in all ports or terminal installations in the Philippines by sea shall pay contributions to the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC).

Under the new law, those who fail to institute or maintain insurance or other financial security shall pay P100,000 to P15 million depending on the ship’s tonnage.

The owner and master of a ship who operate a vessel without maintaining a certificate of insurance shall pay P500,000 on the first violation, P1 million on the second, and P1.5 million on the third.

Any person who fails to contribute to the IOPC Fund shall pay P3 million on the first violation, P4 million on the second, and P5 million on the third.

Failure to submit a report of carrying crude or fuel oil will pay P500,000 on the first violation, P1 million on the second violation, and P1.5 million on the third.

Those who obstruct the entry of authorized officials aboard any ship shall be pay a fine of not more than P100,000. Any ship apprehended for violating the Oil
Pollution Compensation Act shall be detained.

The fines will increase by at least 10 percent every three years to compensate for inflation and maintain the deterrent function of the fines.

An Oil Pollution Management Fund will be established and administered by the Marina. It will come from contributions of owners and operators of tankers and barges hauling oil and petroleum products in Philippine waters and from fines imposed by the law.

The fund shall be used for the immediate containment, removal and clean-up operations in oil pollution cases and for research, enforcement and monitoring activities of concerned agencies. (JMR/Sunnex, Sunstar Manila, June 16, 2007)

Advertisements

One comment

  1. Thank you for keeping a watchful eye on all the good and bad in our worldwide environment. You have chosen to start with the macropicture. Interesting perspective and balance, for someone like me, who has chosen to focus on the personal instead.

    Marguerite, green blogger from Palo Alto, California (“The Daily Sins of a Green Girl Wannabe)



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: