Intertanko Challenges E.U. on Liability Law Threat

Intertanko has written to European Commission Vice-President Jacques Barrot expressing its "serious concern" that the E.U. is set to propose maritime liability legislation that would challenge existing international law. The independent tanker owners' organization asked the Commission to reconsider the Third Maritime Safety Package.

Fran?ois Lamoureux, Director-General of the European Commission's DG TREN, recently spoke in Paris about the planned Third Maritime Safety Package, which is due to be presented to the European Transport Ministers at their meeting on December 5-6, 2005.

Intertanko's fears are based on a press report that Mr Lamoureux had that the Commission was planning to put forward radical proposals concerning maritime liability, notably through an E.U. directive challenging the authority of the international Convention and Protocol on the Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC).

According to Intertanko, the proposals would appear to be contrary to the existing relevant international treaties "to which European Member States are parties and by which they are bound."

The letter to Mr Barrot says: "Instead of going down the route of regional rules which will severely undermine the international liability and compensation regimes, we suggest that the Commission encourage E.U. Member States to ratify existing conventions, including the HNS and Bunkers Conventions, which aim to give prompt and adequate compensation to pollution victims. Furthermore, it is our view that the relevant United Nations, organizations like IMO and IOPC Funds, be given full support by Member States and that any suggestions of amendments to existing conventions be made through these organizations."