The South African coastline has claimed two more victims in recent months, the mv KIANI SATU and mv SMART. Both vessels ran aground close to environmentally sensitive regions where the effects of an oil spill could have been devastating. Fortunately, neither was a tanker, and in each case environmental degradation was contained.
South Africa acceded to the 1992 CLC and Fund Conventions* in June 2004, but remains unable to access any of the compensation these Conventions provide, owing to delays in implementing the necessary domestic legislation. Happily, there has been progress recently.
The Merchant Shipping (Civil Liability Convention) Bill and the Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Contributions Bill were both passed by the National Assembly this month and must now be assented to by the President. The latter will facilitate South Africa’s access to the compensation provided by the Fund Convention in circumstances where a full or partial redress from the shipowner is not possible.
The Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Contributions Bill and the Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Administration Bill regulate the collection of levies and taxes. These bills have also been approved by the National Assembly and have been sent to the National Council of Provinces for approval.