The IOPC Funds took part in a two-day sub-regional seminar on liability and compensation for both oil pollution damage, and damage caused by Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS), from 18 to 19 October 2022, in Tunis, Tunisia. The seminar was organised by the Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) for representatives of government authorities from Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
Ana Cuesta, Claims Manager, and Chrystelle Collier, Claims Administrator, delivered a number of presentations covering the legal framework of the international liability and compensation regime as well as the admissibility criteria for claims. The workshop also included presentations from ITOPF and the International Group of P&I Associations. The presenters were pleased to see an active participation from the audience that led to interesting questions on all subjects, in particular in respect of the legal framework, the HNS Convention and claims for economic losses in the fisheries sector. This open dialogue facilitated the strengthening of regional cooperation and the exchange of best practices.
The event also provided the opportunity to build on the recent experience gained by Tunisia following the sinking of the ‘Xelo’ tanker that occurred in the Gulf of Gabes in April 2022. It assisted the participants by clarifying the difference and the scope of the international maritime Conventions available.
The seminar concluded with the compilation of a series of recommendations from all participants, addressing gaps and needs in terms of planning and preparedness to respond to potential future maritime pollution incidents. It was recommended that those identified gaps could be addressed by promoting and supporting education, training and outreach activities, including the delivery of an exercise with an oil spill incident scenario involving the IOPC Funds, which would contain practical exercises on claims for compensation. The seminar also highlighted those Conventions that were yet to be ratified by the represented States and that would provide them better protection in the event of an incident.