Introduction

On October 18 2000, by Resolution LEG.1(82), the Legal Committee of the International Maritime Organisation adopted amendments to the limitation amounts in the 1992 Protocol to Amend the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1969. Article 6(1) of the 1992 Protocol was amended as follows:

  • the reference to ''3 million units of account'' now reads ''4,510,000 units of account'';
  • the reference to ''420 units of account'' now reads ''631 units of account''; and
  • the reference to ''59.7 million units of account'' now reads ''89,770,000 units of account''.

These amendments entered into force on November 1 2003. In July 2015 Chile issued Decree 43 approving the amendments.

Civil liability for damage from spillages

Under Chilean law there are generally three main potential scenarios in connection to civil liability for damages resulting from the spillage of hydrocarbons and other hazardous substances:

  • spillage of hydrocarbons from seagoing vessels carrying oil in bulk as cargo, which is subject to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1992;
  • spillage of hydrocarbons from vessels not carrying oil in bulk as cargo, which is subject to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage 1969 and the supplementary norms set forth by the Navigation Law (this is extended to spillage of other hazardous substances); and
  • damage to the marine environment due to spillage or pouring of contaminating substances caused by land installations, which is subject to the Navigation Law.

International compensation regime

Chile is a party to the 1992 Civil Liability Convention. According to Decree 43/2015, Chile enjoys the benefit of the first layer of the international compensation regime up to 89.7 million special drawing rights (SDR). However, Chile has yet to approve the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage 1992, together with the 2003 Protocol to the 1992 Fund Convention (Supplementary Fund Protocol).

In this respect, some time ago Parliament suggested to the president that a draft agreement to the 1992 Fund Convention (which has yet to be approved) be adopted.

Trends

Approval of the amendments to the limitation amounts contained in Article 6.1 of the 1992 Civil Liability Convention has been a positive step towards harmonisation with the international community.

However, the adoption of the 1992 Fund Convention and the Supplementary Fund Protocol continue to be important missing parts of the international compensation regime, exposing Chile to the pollution contingency above its 89.7 million SDR cap.

In this respect, industry efforts are anticipated to at least approve the 1992 Fund Convention.

For further information on this topic please contact Ricardo Rozas at JJR Abogados by telephone (+56 2 580 9300) or email (rrozas@jjr.cl). The JJR Abogados website can be accessed at www.jjr.cl.

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