Oil spills and compensation payouts totaling millions of dollars have recently been hogging the headlines worldwide. In Sri Lanka, the government has been seeking compensation for the damage to its environment caused by an oil spill from a Greek cargo ship. In March, Thailand’s national upstream company PTTEP lost a landmark oil spill case against a class action suit brought on behalf of 15,000 seaweed farmers who allegedly lost their livelihood due to the 2009 oil spill at the operator’s Montara field offshore Australia. And in Viet Nam, the Prime Minister has issued updated regulations on oil spill response that will take effect in May.
Recognizing the importance of addressing oil pollution and compensation from ships, PEMSEA organized a virtual training workshop on April 20-22, 2021 as part of the Gulf of Thailand (GOT) Framework Programme and Strategic Action Plan 2017-2021. The training workshop was organized for the GOT countries (Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam) and has been expanded to include participants from the PEMSEA Network of Learning Centers (PNLC) and PEMSEA Network of Local Governments (PNLG).
“Oil spills from a ship can cause great financial losses for various sectors or individuals. It can cause damage to property and economic loss, particularly affecting local fishing or tourism industries and those sectors or individuals affected by the spill may be eligible for compensation. Hence, it is imperative that governments and communities must prepare for this eventuality,” said Ms. Aimee Gonzales, PEMSEA Executive Director.
“We hope that this training workshop will promote better understanding on the technical aspect of claims and compensation under the different international conventions and facilitate preparation and submission of claims for compensation from oil spills,” she added. “We also hope that the workshop will guide the participants on the steps to be taken in setting up rules, administrative procedures, assessment processes, and financial mechanisms for oil pollution.”
Participants include representatives from the governments of GOT states, PNLG, and PNLC, among others.
Strategic partners and resource persons from the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation Limited (ITOPF), International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds), and the International Group of Protection and Indemnity (P& I) Clubs joined the workshop to share their technical expertise and experience with the countries. ITOPF and IOPC Funds have been consistent and active partners of PEMSEA in the GOT Cooperation activities and past East Asian Seas Congresses.