No spill claim

RATIFYING the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution will allow Fiji to be fully compensated for pollution damage caused by oil spills from fuel carried in ships’ bunkers.

These were the comments of Ministry of Transport deputy secretary Lui Naisara yesterday as he presented his submission on the convention to the Standing Committee on Defence and Foreign Affairs.

Currently, Fiji’s non-party status to the convention means the country and people affected by pollution damage from ships’ bunkers spills cannot claim compensation.

“Fiji will only be able to fully utilise the compensation for pollution damage framework under the IMO Bunker Convention, 2001, once it becomes a party to the convention,” Mr Naisara said.

He explained the convention applied to damage caused by oil spills from bunker ships including any damage to the territorial seas and exclusive economic zones of State Parties.

“This is a very important convention that Fiji needs to undertake. Should in any event we have an oil spill here in Fiji, the economic cost on our marine environment will greatly impact the livelihoods of our people and our food chain.”

He said it was also important for Fiji, because the economy relied on fossil fuel being transported in and the country was also a hub port in terms of trans-shipping fossil fuel to other parts of the Pacific.