Paper presented at The International Oil Spill Conference 1999, 7-12 March 1999, Seattle, USA
The 1971 and 1992 International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds ("IOPC Funds") provide compensation to the victims of oil spills from tankers in countries which have ratified the 1971 and 1992 Fund Conventions. Since 1978, they have dealt with more than 100 incidents, paying compensation in 68 of these. Details of the individual incidents are given together with the total cost for each, expressed in US$. The numbers, sizes and costs of the incidents are analysed in detail and compared with the incidence of all tanker spills in Fund countries, using data from ITOPF's Oil Spill Database. This analysis reveals a number of trends relating to the size of tankers; the amount and type of oil spilled; and the geographical location.
The 1971 IOPC Fund has undoubtedly proved highly effective, but recent incidents have tested the limits of compensation available. The 1992 Fund Convention entered into force in May 1996, providing both higher limits and a broader scope. However, the threshold at which it comes into effect is also higher, thereby excluding many of the less expensive spills which would previously have been covered by the 1971 Fund Convention. The significance of this for the numbers and costs of incidents likely to be dealt with by both the 1971 and the 1992 IOPC Funds is examined.