The IOPC Funds participated in Oil Spill India, an international conference and exhibition focusing on oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response in New Delhi, India, from 4 to 5 August 2022.
During the inaugural session, the Director was invited to deliver a keynote address and participate as a panellist in the opening discussion on global, regional and national developments. The Director explained that there was an increasing trend of oil being transported in Asia, which has increased the risk of oil pollution in the region. He highlighted that many coastlines in the region were protected under the 1992 Civil Liability and Fund Conventions and that the correct implementation of those Conventions was a vital part of preparedness.
The Director was also invited to chair the technical session on Conventions, Claims & Compensation – Regulatory & Industry Perspectives. During this session, Senior Claims Manager, Chiara Della Mea, delivered a presentation on the international civil liability and compensation regime and the role of the IOPC Funds in handling pollution incidents.
The IOPC Funds were pleased to be a strategic partner for the sixth edition of the Oil Spill India Conference, which was supported by the oil industry and the Ministry of Shipping of India. The event provided an opportunity for the IOPC Funds to increase awareness among stakeholders about the work of the organisation and the regime in general. The IOPC Funds had a stand at the exhibition, which it shared with the International Group of P&I Associations to meet directly with other stakeholders and clarify any questions.
This was the Director’s first visit to India since the start of his mandate and provided a good opportunity to meet with different government and industry representatives to discuss a number of issues relating to the regime and the role of the Funds.
The Director, Senior Claims Manager and the Chief of Finance, Claire Montgomery, along with representatives of the International Group of P&I Associations and the Steamship Mutual P&I Club, met with the Directorate General of Shipping in Mumbai. They also visited, together with Captain Meena from the Directorate General of Shipping, Reliance and Nayara Energy, two of the largest contributors to the 1992 Fund, to discuss matters relating to reporting and contributions, the role of the Fund and the application of the Fund Convention to both claimants and contributors.
The Funds were also pleased to meet with Captain Meena, Captain Jayakumar, the former Indian representative at the IOPC Funds, and Mr Saxena, Vice-Chair of the Audit Body, to further discuss the longstanding cooperation between the Funds and the Indian Government.
In New Delhi, the Funds and the International Group visited the Indian Oil Corporation, also one of the largest contributors to the 1992 Fund. The group discussed the application of the Fund Convention and matters regarding reporting and contributions. The Director, Senior Claims Manager and Chief of Finance also met with Mr Sarbananda Sonowal, the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. The Director introduced the work of the Funds to the Minister and highlighted the importance of India as a Member State, and the Minister expressed India’s commitment to green energy and economic development.
On the last day of the visit, the Director and Senior Claims Manager met with the Director General of the Indian Coast Guard VS Pathania and members of his staff. The meeting saw the Director and the Director General exchange views on the importance of the Indian Coast Guard as the Central Coordinating Authority for combating oil spills in the Maritime Zones of India and how the Funds and the Coast Guard can cooperate to ensure that fair and prompt compensation is provided in the event of a spill.