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Thursday, July 19, 2018

REPORT MEETING WITH MEP ALAIN ESCLOPÉ – ‘ERIKA II’ PACKAGE – COMPENSATION AND LIABILITY (COPE FUND)

The European Parliament is now in the phase of taking a position on the three European Commission proposals contained in the EU’s “Erika II” package

  • Directive on Monitoring and Reporting System
  • Setting up of a European Maritime Safety Agency
  • Compensation and Liability (COPE Fund)

During the last weeks, INTERTANKO has conducted meetings and put forward written submissions with all three of the European Parliament “rapporteurs” (spokesmen). 

We reported in Weekly NEWS No 13/2001 on the meetings with the rapporteurs for the first two elements of the ‘Erika II’ package (meeting with MEPs Sterckx and Mastorakis).

A meeting on the third proposal took place on 3 April in Strasbourg with French MEP Alain Esclopé, the rapporteur for the Compensation and Liability (COPE Fund proposal - the introduction of a third layer of oil pollution compensation). 

At the meeting INTERTANKO argued that any changes to the international oil pollution  compensation regime should to be undertaken within the framework of the international system. INTERTANKO explained that the shipowners’ financial contribution to oil pollution victims was substantial under the international oil spill liability and compensation regime.

Both the European Parliament and the Commission underlined the main reason for proposing the COPE Fund being that a higher fund limit would serve as a useful tool to speed up the slow compensation process.  INTERTANKO took the opportunity to discuss with Mr. Esclopé why payments under any compensation system takes some time before all legitimate claims can be paid.

The possibility for minor delays always exists in any system which:

  • requires assessment of claims
  • depends upon claimants submitting their claims
  • requires claimants to provide acceptable evidence to substantiate economic losses or costs
  • needs to avoid paying inflated or speculative claims

Systems are already in place to:

  • pay compensation on an expedited basis to provide individuals and businesses suffering hardship;
  • to help claimants file claims and
  • to deal with the victims of an oil spill through the establishment of local claims offices to assist as much as possible.

Mr Esclopé was attentive and interested in INTERTANKO’s views. He explained that although not a specialist in the field, he would try to support a directive that was practicable and would serve the interests of the victims of oil spills, while bearing in mind the international nature of shipping.  However it was clear that other interest groups have been very active in promoting their positions.

Mr. Esclopé underlined that he saw that an important aspect of the Commission proposal on a third layer was to spark a reaction in the IMO and the optimum solution would be if an international regime could be quickly agreed. He reiterated that the COPE Fund, as proposed by the Commission, was already structured around the international regime and confirmed that he was eager to protect that aspect.

INTERTANKO will follow-up this meeting with an approach to more MEPs members on the relevant Committees and with the European Commission. For further information, please LegalandDocumentary@intertanko.com