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Thursday, April 19, 2018

THIRD LAYER OIL SPILL COMPENSATION (COPE), COMMISSIONER DE PALACIO WARNS THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT OF POSSIBLE DELAYS

The European Parliament’s (EP) Plenary meeting debated and finally endorsed on 14 June the EP Transport committee’s proposed amendments to the Commission’s proposal for a third layer of oil spill compensation in Europe (COPE).

In other words, the EP has now adopted as its formal position that:

  • The scope of COPE should be extended to cover compensation for pollution caused by bunkers and Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS)
  • Not only oil receivers, but also shipowners should contribute financially to this third layer

Commissioner Loyola de Palacio – with whom INTERTANKO’s chairman met and discussed this matter only two weeks ago – warned the EP that to amend the Commission proposal in this manner would be unacceptable because it would undermine the international system on which the COPE proposal is based, and therefore would also threaten any possibility to reach a quick and efficient solution for the benefit of oil spill victims.  The Commissioner made reference to the meeting in IOPC next week where a number of EU Member States cosponsor - together with Australia, Canada and Norway - a proposal to include the COPE proposal as a voluntary third layer annexed to the IOPC convention.

From the Parliament debate itself it was apparent that several of the leading and most influential members of the Parliament had listened to and understood the message put forward by INTERTANKO amongst others.  The EP Plenary view adopted in Strasbourg on 14 June must therefore be seen as part of a tactical positioning by the Parliament in order to put pressure on Member States’ governments ahead of next weeks IOPC and on the Commission for the so called “second reading” which will start sometime in September. 

INTERTANKO is now concentrating on next week’s IOPC meeting.  After an evaluation of the outcome of that meeting, INTERTANKO will again approach the European Parliament and other Brussels institutions after the summer break which is now approaching in Brussels.