HC Deb 05 December 1975 vol 901 cc411-2W
Mr. Higgins

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether the tanker owners' voluntary agreement, TOVALOP, concerning liability for oil pollution, provides for full compensation to be paid by them to local authorities and others sustaining damage from oil pollution of the sea when other types of vessel are also involved.

Mr. Clinton Davis

I understand that under the provisions of the TOVALOP agreement, which covers virtually all the world's oil tankers, liability for meeting claims by Governments for compensation in respect of oil spilled from the tanker is dependent on fault with the burden of proof reversed. The term "Government" as used in the agreement includes local authorities. An alternative method of recovery is provided by the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1969, now in force and given effect in the United Kingdom by the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution) Act 1971. This imposes strict liability on the owner of a tanker from which oil escapes, and which is registered in a country which is party to the Convention.