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TRADING CERTIFICATES

CLC BLUE CARD

The International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969 (CLC 1969), came into force in 1975. It introduced a system to determine the liability of tanker owners (as described below) for oil pollution damage. The CLC Protocol, 1992 (CLC 1992) was introduced in 1996. It updated CLC 1969 and increased the amounts of compensation available.

Under CLC, the registered owner of a ship carrying more than 2,000 tonnes of persistent oil as cargo in bulk has strict liability for any damage caused by the escape or discharge of that oil from his ship. This means that the owner is liable even where there is no fault on his part. The owner is normally able to limit his liability to an amount determined by the size of his ship.

The owner of a tanker registered in a CLC Contracting State (which carries more than 2,000 tonnes of persistent oil as cargo in bulk) is obliged to maintain insurance to cover his CLC liabilities. This insurance is evidenced by a document known as a Blue Card. It is issued by the ship’s P&I insurer to the Flag State registry and they, in turn, issue a CLC Certificate to the registered owner of the tanker. CLC tankers must carry a CLC Certificate on board, attesting the insurance coverage. Effectively, this gives claimants a right of direct action against the insurer. Where a ship is registered in a State that is not party to the CLC Convention, the registered owner can nominate a State that is party to the Convention to issue the certificate.

BUNKER CONVENTION BLUE CARD

The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution, 2001 (the Bunker Convention) came into force in 2008. The Convention provides a liability, compensation and compulsory insurance scheme for the victims of damage caused by the escape or discharge of bunker oil.

The Convention applies to any seagoing ship or seaborne craft over 1,000 gross tons of any type whatsoever. The owner of a ship registered in a State Party, or entering a port in the territory of a State Party is required to maintain insurance to cover his Bunker Convention liabilities and to obtain a Certificate from a State Party attesting that the requisite insurance is in place.

The procedure for obtaining a Bunker Convention Certificate is similar to that in place for CLC Certificates. The registered owner requests his P&I insurer to issue a Bunker Convention Blue Card (in electronic format) to the relevant Flag State and they, in turn, issue a Bunker Convention Certificate. The ship must carry a Bunker Convention Certificate on board, attesting the insurance coverage, whenever it calls at a port or facility located in a State Party. Effectively, this gives claimants a right of direct action against the insurer.

Where a ship is registered in a State that is not party to the Bunker Convention, the registered owner is required to obtain a State-issued Certificate from a State that is party to the Convention.

ATHENS CONVENTION

The Athens Convention relating to the Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage By Sea (“the Athens Convention”) was adopted on 13 December 1974 and came into force on 28 April 1987. It established a fault-based regime of liability for loss or damage suffered by passengers on sea-going vessels for international voyages. On 1 November 2002 the Protocol to the Athens Convention was adopted and came into force on 23 April 2014. A feature of the Protocol was to increase the limits of liability for ship-owners and to extend the application of the Convention to certain categories of ships carrying out domestic voyages.

PLR BLUE CARD

By Regulation no. 392/2009 on the Liability of Carriers of Passengers by Sea in the Event of Accidents (“the PLR”), the European Union has given effect to the substance of the Athens Convention and the Protocol and directed that the same shall apply in all EU and EEA member states from 31 December 2012.

The PLR provides for strict liability of the carrier for death and personal injury due to a shipping incident up to SDR 250,000 per passenger. This liability limit is increased to SDR 400,000 per passenger unless the carrier can prove he was not at fault. A carrier loses the right to limit his liability if it is proved that the damage resulted from an act or omission done with the intent to cause such damage, or recklessly and with knowledge that such damage would probably result.

The PLR further provides that all ships licensed to carry more than 12 passengers – and registered in an EU/EEA member state or entering or leaving a port in the territory of an EU/EEA member state – must maintain insurance, which meets the requirements of the PLR. They must also obtain a certificate issued by an EU/EEA member state confirming that such insurance is in force. The amount of insurance required is a minimum of SDR 250,000 per passenger.

The certificate should contain the name of the ship, the name and place of business of the carrier, the name and place of business of the P&I insurer providing financial security, and the period of validity of the certificate. The state will issue a certificate on receipt of confirmation of cover from an approved insurer. The confirmation of insurance by the insurer will be by way of a “Blue Card” in the same manner as that used for the CLC and the Bunker Convention.

Pursuant to the PLR, a claimant has a right of direct action against the insurer providing the financial security. The insurer is able to invoke the same defences that would be available to the carrier in defending the claim. The insurer’s liability is limited to SDR 250,000 per passenger even if the carrier was at fault for the incident or if the carrier is unable to limit his liability.

Britannia can issue non-war PLR Blue Cards in respect of the non-war risks under the PLR. A Member will have to purchase separate insurance for liability for death or injury to passengers arising out of war or terrorism.

APPLYING FOR TRADING CERTIFICATES

Certain information is required to enable the Club to issue Trading Certificates.

Name of ship – this is the registered name
Call sign – the distinctive numbers or letters allocated to a ship when it is registered
IMO number
Flag state – If the flag state has ratified the conventions the application must be made to that flag state. If it has not ratified, you will need to select another state to which the application can be made
Port of registry
Name and address of registered owner – we will not name a charterer or more than one party, except where the ownership has been registered jointly
Contact email address – details of the address to which the blue card should be sent (the Member or their broker).