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II.7.10 (OILPOL 1954) INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE PREVENTION OF POLLUTION OF THE SEA BY OIL, 1954, AS AMENDED

The Ratification of Maritime Conventions

Chapter I.7.10

(OILPOL, 1954) INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE PREVENTION OF POLLUTION OF THE SEA BY OIL, 1954, AS AMENDED

1. This Convention has been superseded,with effect from 2 October 1983, by the Protocol of 1978 relating to 2. The Convention has been amended in 1962 (entered into force: 28.06.1967) and 1969 (entered into force: 20.01.1978). The 1971 (Great Barrier Reef) amendments and the 1971 (Tanks) amendments are not in force yet.

ADOPTED: Done at London, 12 May 1954
REFERENCE: OILPOL, 1954
UN TREATY NUMBER: I. 4714
ENTERED INTO FORCE: 26 July 1958
DEPOSITARY: IMO, London
SECRETARY: IMO, London

IMPLEMENTATION

SIGNATURE AND ACCEPTANCE

Article XIV (as amended)

(1) The present Convention shall remain open for signature for three months from this day’s date and shall thereafter remain open for acceptance.

(2) Subject to article XV, the Governments of States Members of the United Nations or of any of the Specialized Agencies or parties to the State of the International Court of Justice may become parties to the present Convention by:

  • (a) signature without reservation as to acceptance;
  • (b) signature subject to acceptance followed by acceptance; or
  • (c) acceptance.

(3) Acceptance shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument of acceptance with the Bureau, which shall inform all Governments that have already signed or accepted the present Convention of each signature and deposit of an acceptance and of the date of such signature or deposit.

ENTRY INTO FORCE

Article XV

(1) The present Convention shall come into force twelve months after the date on which not less than ten Governments have become parties to the Convention, including five Governments of countries each with not less than 500,000 gross tons of tanker tonnage.

(2) (a) For each Government which signs the Convention without reservation as to acceptance or accepts the Convention before the date on which the Convention comes into force in accordance with paragraph (1) of this article it shall come into force on that date. For each Government which accepts the Convention on or after that date, it shall come into force three months after the date of the deposit of that Government’s acceptance.

(b) The Bureau shall, as soon as possible, inform all Governments which have signed or accepted the Convention of the date on which it will come into force.

DENUNCIATION

Article XVII

(1) The present Convention may be denounced by any Contracting Government at any time after the expiration of a period of five years from the date on which the Convention comes into force for that Government.

(2) Denunciation shall be effected by a notification in writing addressed to the Bureau which shall notify all the Contracting Governments of any denunciation received and of the date of its receipt.

(3) A denunciation shall take effect twelve months, or such longer period as may be specified in the notification, after its receipt by the Bureau.

SUSPENSION

Article XIX

(1) In case of war or other hostilities, a Contracting Government which considers that it is affected, whether as a belligerent or as a neutral, may suspend the operation of the whole or any part of the present Convention in respect of all or any of its territories. The suspending Government shall immediately give notice of any such suspension to the Bureau.

(2) The Suspending Government may at any time terminate such suspension and shall in any event terminate it as soon as it ceases to be justified under paragraph (1) of this Article. Notice of such termination shall be given immediately to the Bureau by the Government concerned.

(3) The Bureau shall notify all Contracting Governments of any suspension or termination of suspension under this Article.

AMENDMENTS

Article XVI

(1) (a) The present Convention may be amended by unanimous agreement between the Contracting Governments

(b) Upon request of any Contracting Government a proposed amendment shall be communicated by the Organization to all Contracting Governments for consideration and acceptance under this paragraph.

(2) (a) An amendment to the present Convention may be proposed to the Organization at any time by any Contracting Government, and such proposal if adopted by a two-thirds majority of the Assembly of the Organization upon recommendation adopted by a two-thirds majority of the Maritime Safety Committee of the Organization shall be communicated by the Organization to all Contracting Governments for their acceptance.

(b) Any such recommendation by the Maritime Safety Committee shall be communicated by the Organization to all Contracting Governments for their consideration at least six months before it is considered by the Assembly.

(3) (a) A conference of Governments to consider amendments to the present Convention proposed by any Contracting Government shall at any time be convened by the Organization upon the request of one-third of the Contracting Governments.

(b) Every amendment adopted by such conference by a two-thirds majority of the Contracting Governments shall be communicated by the Organization to all Contracting Governments for their acceptance.

(4) Any amendment communicated to Contracting Governments for their acceptance under paragraph (2) or (3) of this Article shall come into force for all Contracting Governments, except those which before it comes into force make a declaration that they do not accept the amendment, twelve months after the date on which the amendment is accepted by two-thirds of the Contracting Governments.

(5) The Assembly, by a two-thirds majority vote, including two-thirds of the Governments represented on the Maritime Safety Committee, and subject to the concurrence of two-thirds of the Contracting Governments to the present Convention . . . may determine at the time of its adoption that the amendment is of such an important nature that any Contracting Government which makes a declaration under paragraph (4) of this article and which does not accept the amendment within a period of twelve months after the amendment comes into force, shall, upon the expiry of this period, cease to be a party to the present Convention.

(6) The Organization shall inform all Contracting Governments of any amendments which come into force under this Article, together with the date on which such amendments shall come into force.

(7) Any acceptance or declaration under this Article shall be made by a notification in writing to the Organization which shall notify all Contracting Governments of the receipt of the acceptance or declaration.

TERRITORIAL APPLICATION

Article XVIII

(1) (a) The United Nations in cases where they are the administering authority for a territory or any Contracting Government responsible for the international relations of a territory shall as soon as possible consult with such territory in an endeavour to extend the present Convention to that territory and may at any time by notification in writing given to the Bureau declare that the Convention shall extend to such territory.

(b) The present Convention shall from the date of the receipt of the notification or from such other date as may be specified in the notification extend to the territory named therein.

(2) (a) The United Nations in cases where they are the administering authority for a territory or any Contracting Government which has made a declaration under paragraph (1) of this Article, at any time after the expiry of a period of five years from the date on which the present Convention has been so extended to any territory, may by a notification in writing given to the Bureau after consultation with such territory declare that the Convention shall cease to extend to any such territory named in the notification.

(b) The present Convention shall cease to extend to any territory mentioned in such notification one year, or such longer period as may be specified therein, after the date of receipt of the notification by the Bureau.

(3) The Bureau shall inform all the Contracting Governments of the extension of the present territory under paragraph (1) of this Article, and of the termination of any such extension under the provisions of paragraph (2) stating in each case the date from which the Convention has been or will cease to be so extended.

DECLARATIONS, RESERVATIONS AND STATEMENTS

Argentina

The instrument of acceptance of the Argentine Republic contained the following reservations and statement (in the Spanish language):

[translation] “(a) With respect to article XIII the Argentine Government reserve the right that disputes be referred to the International Court of Justice only with their consent.

(b) With respect to article XVI(4), the Argentine Republic will consider binding only those amendments which it has formally accepted.”

Further the following interpretative statement is made:

“The Argentine Republic has extended its sovereignty to 200 miles by Decree-Law No. 17.094/66, article 1, therefore its jurisdiction in regard to pollution must be considered extended accordingly.

Moreover, the reservations made by Portugal in regard to article VII, by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia, in regard to article XIII, by the United States of America in regard to articles XI and XVI, and by Italy, Liberia and Fiji in regard to article XVI, are accepted, but those made by the United States of America, Liberia and Fiji in regard to article VIII are objected to.”

Bahamas

The instrument of acceptance of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas contained the following (in the English language):

“In accepting the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, 1954, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas declares that it does so subject to the Understanding that article XI effectively reserves to the parties to the Convention freedom of legislative action in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the said parties, including the application of existing laws, anything in the Convention which may appear to be contrary notwithstanding. Specifically, it is understood that offences in waters subject to the jurisdiction of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas will continue to be punishable under the laws of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas regardless of the ship’s registry.

The Commonwealth of The Bahamas accepts article VIII of the Convention, subject to the reservation that, while it will urge port authorities, oil terminals or private contractors to provide adequate disposal facilities, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas shall not be obliged to construct, operate, or maintain shore facilities at places on coasts of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas or waters where such facilities may be deemed inadequate, or to assume any financial obligation to assist in such activities.

The Commonwealth of The Bahamas accepts the Convention subject to the reservation that amendments communicated to contracting governments under the provisions of paragraph (2) of article XVI will become binding upon The Commonwealth of The Bahamas only after notification of acceptance thereof has been given by The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”

Chile

The instrument of acceptance of the Republic of Chile contained the following reservation (in the Spanish language):

  • [translation] “ . . . with reservation concerning article VIII, in the sense that, although Chile will require port authorities, oil loading terminals or private contractors to provide adequate disposal facilities, it shall not be obliged to build, operate or maintain facilities at coastal places or in Chilean jurisdictional waters where such facilities may be deemed inadequate, or to assume any financial obligation to assist in those activities.”

Fiji

The acceptance by Fiji contained the following declaration and reservations (in the English language):

“In accepting the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, 1954, Fiji declares that it does so subject to the understanding that article XI effectively reserves to the parties to the Convention freedom of legislative action in territorial waters, including the application of existing laws, anything in the Convention which may appear to be contrary notwithstanding. Specifically, it is understood that offences in Fiji territorial waters will continue to be punishable under Fiji laws regardless of the ship’s registry; the acceptance by Fiji of the said Convention is subject to the following reservations:

  • 1. Fiji accepts article VIII of the Convention, subject to the reservation that, while it will urge port authorities, oil terminals or private contractors to provide adequate facilities, Fiji shall not be obliged to construct, operate or maintain shore facilities at places on Fiji coasts or waters where such facilities may be deemed inadequate, or to assume any financial obligation to assist in such activities; and
  • 2. Fiji accepts the Convention subject to the reservation that amendments communicated to contracting Governments under the provisions of paragraph (2) of article XVI will become binding upon Fiji only after notification or acceptance thereof has been given by Fiji.”

German Democratic Republic

The instrument of acceptance of the German Democratic Republic was accompanied by one reservation and two declarations (in the German language) as follows:

[translation] “The German Democratic Republic declares that it does not consider itself bound by article XIII of the Convention with regard to recourse to the International Court of Justice for the arbitration of disputes.”

“The position of the German Democratic Republic on article I, paragraph 2, and on article XVIII of the Convention, as far as the application of the Convention to colonial and other dependent territories is concerned, is governed by the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (resolution No. 1514(IX) of 14 December 1960), proclaiming the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.”

“The German Democratic Republic considers that the provisions of article XIV, paragraph 2 of the Convention are inconsistent with the principle that all States pursuing their policies in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations shall have the right to become parties to conventions affecting the interest of all States.”

Germany, Federal Republic of

The instrument of acceptance of the Federal Republic of Germany was accompanied by a declaration (in the English language) “that the aforementioned Convention shall also apply to Land Berlin”.

A further communication dated 14 July 1977 was received from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in London “that the Federal Republic of Germany does not recognize the unilateral extension of the sovereign rights claimed by the Argentine Republic in regard to pollution in that area”.

Israel

The acceptance by the State of Israel was made subject to the following reservation (in the English language):

“ . . . on 11 July 1965, the Government of Israel, in accordance with the powers vested in it by law, decided to accept the said Convention, subject to the reservation that article VII of the Convention will not apply to such ships of Israeli registration as may be specified from time to time by the Minister of Transport and Communications of Israel; . . . ”

By a communication dated 8 November 1966 this reservation was withdrawn.

Italy

The acceptance by the Italian Republic is subject to the following reservation (in the English language):

“The Italian Government accepts the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, signed in London on 12 May 1954 with the reservation that the amendments envisaged in para- graphs 2 and 4 of article XVI of the Convention will not be binding for the Italian Government until the said Government has formally declared to accept them.”

On 28 July 1971 the Government of the Italian Republic deposited an instrument of acceptance of the amendments adopted on 11 April 1962 to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, 1954.

In a note (in the English language) accompanying that instrument of acceptance the Government of the Italian Republic indicated that acceptance of the amended article XVI is made subject to the following reservations:

“The Italian Government accept the amendments to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil (12 May 1954), adopted in London on the 11th April 1962, with the reservation that the amendments considered by paragraph No. 4 of article XVI will not bind the Italian Government until the latter will formally notify their acceptance; in this case the amendments will come into force for Italy two months after the aforesaid notification.”

A reservation by the Government of Italy accompanying its acceptance stated that Italy would not be bound by amendments adopted under article XVI(2) and (4) in the absence of a formal declaration of acceptance. On 28 July 1971 the Government of Italy accepted the 1962 Amendments with a reservation.

Liberia

The acceptance by the Republic of Liberia contains the following reservations (in the English language):

“1. That the provisions of article VIII of the Convention shall not apply in the case of Liberia.1

2. That the provisions of article XVI(2) shall not apply in the case of Liberia. Amendments shall become binding on Liberia only after the Government notifies her acceptance.”

NOTE

1. The Government of France, in a note dated 9 November 1962, states that it is unable to accept that which is here set out as a reservation concerning article VIII. At the same time, it recognizes the validity of the ratification of the Convention by the Liberian Government in all other respects.

Panama

The depositary received a communication, dated 17 March 1976, from the Ambassador of the Republic of Panama in London. The communication, the full text of which was circulated by the depositary, includes the following:

“Panama has always declared that the Canal Zone is part of the Panamanian Territory and that its sovereignty has never been given to any country, therefore the Canal Zone is not and it could never be part of the United States of America.

We clearly understand that the [International Maritime Organization (IMO)], specialized organism of the United Nations Organization, is formed by the Governments of the sovereign republics that constitute the UNO, therefore it is totally incorrect what [sic] the mentioned document states, that the Canal Zone has been included in an international agreement, as one of the colonies, protectorate and other territories of the United States of America.”

The depositary received a communication dated 23 June 1976 from the Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Kingdom. The communication, the full text of which was circulated by the depositary, includes the following:

“. . . while the United States recognizes that the Canal Zone constitutes territory of the Republic of Panama, the United States maintains that under the 1903 Treaty with Panama and under the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, 1954, as amended, it has all necessary legal authority to extend the 1954 Convention, as amended, to the Canal Zone. The United States notes that the status of the Canal Zone is currently the subject of treaty negotiations between Panama and the United States.”

Poland

The Government of Poland declared that it does not accept the 1962 Amendment to article XIV of the Convention.

Portugal

The acceptance by the Portuguese Republic is subject to the following reservation (in the Portuguese Language):

[translation] “Ships over 16 years old on the date of the entry into force of the Convention with regard to Portugal which are unable to comply with the next special survey shall not be considered covered by the provisions of article VII.”

Saudi Arabia

The acceptance by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is subject to the following reservation (in the English language):

“The Saudi Arabian Government accepts the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil dated 12th May, 1954, with the reservation of article No. 13 of the Convention which will not bind the Saudi Arabian Government until the latter formally notify their acceptance. In this case the article will come into force two months after the aforesaid notification.”

Tunisia

The acceptance by the Republic of Tunisia contained the following reservation with regard to article XIII of the Convention (in the French language):

[translation] “Disputes can only be referred to the International Court of Justice with the agreement of all the parties in dispute.”

U.S.S.R.

The acceptance by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is subject to the following reservation (in the Russian language):

[translation] “The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics does not consider itself bound by the provisions of article XIII of the Convention under which any dispute between the Contracting Governments which is connected with the interpretation and the application of the Convention and which can not be solved by means of negotiations, shall be referred, at the request of any Party, for settlement to the International Court of Justice, and states that to refer such a dispute to the International Court of Justice it is necessary in each case to have agreement of all the Parties to the dispute”,

and was accompanied by the following statements (in the Russian language):

[translation] “The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics declares that paragraph 2 of article XIV of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil with the amendments of 1962, under which the opportunity to become Parties to the Convention is denied to the Government of some States, is of a discriminatory nature and believes that in accordance with the principle of sovereign equality of States the Convention should be open for participation to all the interested States without any discrimination or restrictions.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics considers it necessary to state that the provisions of paragraph 2, article I and article XVIII of the Convention on the Extension by the Contracting Parties of its application to the territories, for whose international relations they are responsible, are incompatible with the Declaration of the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples (resolution 1514(XV) of 14 December 1969).”

United Kingdom

The depositary received a communication dated 27 January 1977 from the Government of the United Kingdom. The communication, the full text of which was circulated by the depositary, includes the following:

“. . . that the United Kingdom Government does not accept the Argentine Republic’s extension of sovereignty of 200 miles, or its jurisdiction in regard to pollution over the same area.”

United States

The acceptance by the United States of America is subject to the following understanding and reservations and with the following recommendation (in the English language):

“The acceptance by the United States of America of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea by Oil, 1954, is subject to the following understanding:

“In accepting the Convention the United States declares that it does so subject to the understanding that article XI effectively reserves to the parties to the Convention freedom of legislative action in territorial waters, including the application of existing laws, anything in the Convention which may appear to be contrary notwithstanding. Specifically, it is understood that offenses in US territorial waters will continue to be punishable under US laws regardless of the ship’s registry;

“The acceptance by the United States of America of the said Convention is subject to the following reservations:

  • 1. The United States accepts article VIII of the Convention, subject to the reservation that, while it will urge port authorities, oil terminals or private contractors to provide adequate disposal facilities, the United States shall not be obliged to construct, operate, or maintain shore facilities at places on US coasts or waters where such facilities may be deemed inadequate, or to assume any financial obligation to assist in such activities.
  • 2. The United States accepts the Convention subject to the reservation that amendments communicated to contracting governments under the provisions of paragraph (2) of article XVI will become binding upon the United States of America only after notification of acceptance thereof has been given by the United States.

“The United States of America, in accepting the Convention subject to the aforesaid understanding and reservations, recommends that the parties give consideration to the formulation of amendments to the Convention at the earliest practicable date to bring about:

  • 1. international uniformity in fines and penalties;
  • 2. international uniformity of enforcement;
  • 3. a more realistic definition of what shall constitute oil pollution;
  • 4. the right of access of each contracting government to the official reports of other contracting governments filed with the bureau which relate to its own vessels; and
  • 5. a more flexible arrangement for fixing the time within which contracting governments shall notify the bureau whether or not they accept an amendment.”1

NOTE

1. The Government of France, in a Note dated 8 March 1962, states that it is unable to accept that which is here set out as a reservation concerning article VIII. At the same time, it recognizes the validity of the ratification of the Convention by the United States Government in all other respects.

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