HC Deb 23 December 1976 vol 923 c300W
Mr. Dempsey

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what were the conclusions of the Inter-governmental Conference on the Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage from Offshore Operations held in London from 13th to 17th December 1976.

Dr. J. Dickson Mabon

At the conference, which was attended by delegations from the Governments of Belgium, Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, as well as from the United Kingdom, agreement was reached on the text of a Convention. When it has been ratified, it will mean that in the event of oil pollution damage being caused by exploration or production activities off the shores of countries in North-West Europe, the victims will have ready access to compensation through the Courts of member countries. The oil companies will be subject to strict liability for the costs of any such damage, up to an amount of $35 million per incident during the first five years of the Convention's existence and of $45 million thereafter. The text agreed last week has to be subjected to linguistic verification in the two official languages of the Conference. Once that has been done, the Government will make the text available to the House.