Government to ratify the Bunkers Convention

Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Dr. Culvic Togamana

 The government has approved the ratification of the Bunkers Convention recently

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will soon ratify the Convention and allow them to pursue legal actions on oil-spill related issues in the country.

Minister for Environment, Dr. Culvick Togamana said the government has taken the issue seriously and now pursuing a collective lawsuit against Solomon Trader insurers concerning the Kangava Bay oil spill last year.

“We need to sue Solomon Traders insurers. It’s a collective lawsuit. But before doing that we must first ratify the Bunkers Convention.”

He added after the Environmental Damage Assessment done recently, is estimated to be worth around  SDB$30 million dollars.

“We haven’t signed into the Bunkers Convention yet, but we only have just passed its process at the cabinet recently. Soon the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will ratify the convention.”

The Bunkers Convention was adopted to ensure adequate, prompt, and effective compensation is available to persons who suffer damage caused by spills of oil when carried as fuel in ships’ bunkers.

The Convention applies to damage caused on the territory, including the territorial sea, and in exclusive economic zones of States Parties.

The bunkers convention provides a free-standing instrument covering pollution damage only.

It was adopted by the International Maritime Organisation on March 23, 2001, and came into force in November 2008.

Last year a bauxite bulk carrier, Solomon Trader ran aground in Kangava Bay, Rennell island spilling around 200 tons of heavy crude oil into the sea.

by Charley Piringi

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