International Seminar on Oil Spill Compensation, Seoul, Republic of Korea, 17 December 2012

Posted: 18/12/2012
Categories: News – External Relations

At the invitation of the Korean Coast Guard, Matthew Sommerville, Head, Claims Department and Technical Adviser, spoke at the International Seminar on Oil Spill Compensation, which took place on 17 December 2012 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The seminar was opened by the Commissioner of the Korean Coast Guard, Mr Lee Kang-Deok, and was supported by the Korea P&I Club and the Korea Shipowners’ Association. Presentations were also given by representatives of the Skuld P&I Club, ITOPF, US law firm Kessel, Young and Logan and the Korean Coast Guard’s own personnel. The seminar was attended by over 200 delegates from various backgrounds, including shipping industry, oil spill planning and response, surveyors, experts and legal organisations.
Whilst the Hebei Spirit incident was obviously discussed, the seminar focussed on improving the understanding of the compensation system for future incidents. The presentations drew on experience from incidents around the world and discussed the liability regimes for all types of ships and the shared objective of providing prompt compensation to those affected.
The following day the Korean Coast Guard organised a visit to the Headquarters and Research Centre in Incheon. Among the highlights was a visit to the control centre where the latest vessel tracking, communications and live video feed capabilities of the Coast Guard fleet at sea were demonstrated. Mr Sommerville was invited to view one of the Coast Guard’s oil spill response vessels and also visited one of the three new spill response centres established following the Hebei Spirit incident, which complement a comprehensive list of resources available in Korea operated by the port, KOEM and other private companies. The new stockpile holds an estimated one week’s supply of the necessary protective clothing, consumables, hand tools and a range of booms, skimmers and other equipment on which the Coast Guard and other people can be trained and made familiar with in advance of any incident.
Both the seminar and the subsequent visits and demonstrations clearly showed the effort and investment that the Korean Government and maritime industry have put into its oil spill response planning and training since the occurrence of the Hebei Spirit incident in 2007.

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