International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage

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The International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969, renewed in 1992 and often referred to as the CLC Convention, is an international maritime treaty that was adopted to ensure that adequate compensation would be available where oil pollution damage was caused by maritime casualties involving oil tankers (i.e. ships that carry oil as cargo).[1]


The convention introduces strict liability for shipowners.[2]

In cases when the shipowner is deemed guilty of fault for an instance of oil pollution, the convention does not cap liability.

When the shipowner is not at fault, the convention caps liability at between 3 million special drawing rights (SDR) for a ship of 5,000 GT to 59.7 million SDR for ships over 140,000 GT.[1] These limits translate to around US$3.8 million to US$76.5 million, although SDR exchange rates fluctuate daily.[1] The HNS Convention to compensation for damages occurring from spill of dangerous goods is based on the same legal framework.[3]


If a ship carries more than 2000 tons of oil in cargo, CLC requires shipowners to maintain "insurance or other financial security" sufficient to cover the maximum liability for one oil spill[1]


As of April 2014, 133 states, representing 96.7 per cent of the world fleet, are contracting parties to the CLC Protocol 1992.[4] Bolivia, North Korea, Honduras, and Lebanon—which are generally flag of convenience states—have not ratified the treaty.[5]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 International Maritime Organization on the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (CLC), 1969 [1]
  2. R. Bhanu Krishna Kiran, "Liability and Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage: An examination of IMO Convention", NUJS LAW REVIEW, January 2, 2015
  3. HNS Convention Legal Framework, retrieved 2014-02-13 
  4. International Maritime Organization – Status of Conventions
  5. MARISEC (2009). Shipping Industry Flag State Performance Table (PDF). London: Maritime International Secretariat Services. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2010-06-12.