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II.7.30 (CLC 1969) INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON CIVIL LIABILITY FOR OIL POLLUTION DAMAGE, 1969

The Ratification of Maritime Conventions

Chapter I.7.30

(CLC 1969) INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION ON CIVIL LIABILITY FOR OIL POLLUTION DAMAGE, 1969

ADOPTED: Done at Brussels, 29 November 1969
REFERENCE: CLC 1969
UN TREATY NUMBER: I 14097
ENTERED INTO FORCE: 19 June 1975
DEPOSITARY: IMO, London
SECRETARY: IMO, London

IMPLEMENTATION

SIGNATURE, RATIFICATION, ACCEPTANCE, APPROVAL, ACCESSION

Article XIII

1. The present Convention shall remain open for signature until 31 December 1970 and shall thereafter remain open for accession.

2. States Members of the United Nations or any of the Specialized Agencies or of the International Atomic Energy Agency or Parties to the Statute of the International Court of Justice may become Parties to this Convention by:

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

Article XIV

1. Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be effected by the deposit of a formal instrument to that effect with the Secretary-General of the Organisation.

2. Any instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession deposited after the entry into force of an amendment to the present Convention with respect to all existing Contracting States, or after the completion of all measures required for the entry into force of the amendment with respect to those Contracting States shall be deemed to apply to the Convention as modified by the amendment.

ENTRY INTO FORCE

Article XV

1. The present Convention shall enter into force on the ninetieth day following the date on which Governments of eight States including five States each with not less than 1,000,000 gross tons of tanker tonnage have either signed it without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval or have deposited instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Secretary-General of the Organization.

2. For each State which subsequently ratifies, accepts, approves or accedes to it the present Convention shall come into force on the ninetieth day after deposit by such State of the appropriate instrument.

Article XII

This Convention shall supersede any International Conventions in force or open for signature, ratification or accession at the date on which the Convention is opened for signature, but only to the extent that such Conventions would be in conflict with it; however, nothing in this Article shall affect the obligations of Contracting States to non-Contracting States arising under such International Conventions.

DENUNCIATION

Article XVI

1. The present Convention may be denounced by any Contracting State at any time after the date on which the Convention comes into force for that State.

2. Denunciation shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument with the Secretary-General of the Organization.

3. A denunciation shall take effect one year, or such longer period as may be specified in the instrument of denunciation, after its deposit with the Secretary-General of the Organization.

AMENDMENTS

Article XVIII

1. A Conference for the purpose of revising or amending the present Convention may be convened by the Organization.

2. The organization shall convene a Conference of the Contracting States for revising or amending the present Convention at the request of not less than one-third of the Contracting States.

TERRITORIAL APPLICATION

Article XVII

1. The United Nations, where it is the administering authority for a territory, or any Contracting State responsible for the international relations of a territory, shall as soon as possible consult with the appropriate authorities of such territory or take such other measures as may be appropriate, in order to extend the present Convention to that territory and may at any time by notification in writing to the Secretary-General of the Organization declare that the present Convention shall extend to such territory.

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

3. The United Nations, or any Contracting State which has made a declaration under paragraph 1 of this Article may at any time after the date on which the convention has been so extended to any territory declare by notification in writing to the Secretary-General of the Organization that the present Convention shall cease to extend to any such territory named in the notification.

4. 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 Secretary-General of the Organization.

DECLARATIONS, RESERVATIONS AND STATEMENTS

Australia

The instrument of ratification of the Commonwealth of Australia was accompanied by the following declarations:

“Australia has taken note of the reservation made by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on its accession on 24 June 1975 to the Convention, concerning article XI(2) of the Convention. Australia wishes to advise that it is unable to accept the reservation. Australia considers that international law does not grant a State the right to immunity from the jurisdiction of the courts of another State in proceedings concerning civil liability in respect of a State-owned ship used for commercial purposes. It is also Australia’s understanding that the above-mentioned reservation is not intended to have the effect that the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics may claim judicial immunity of a foreign State with respect to ships owned by it, used for commercial purposes and operated by a company which in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is registered as the ship’s operator, when actions for compensation are brought against the company in accordance with the provisions of the Convention. Australia also declares that, while being unable to accept the Soviet reservation, it does not regard that fact as precluding the entry into force of the Convention as between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and Australia.

Australia has taken note of the declaration made by the German Democratic Republic on its accession on 13 March 1978 to the Convention, concerning article XI(2) of the Convention. Australia wishes to declare that it cannot accept the German Democratic Republic’s position on sovereign immunity. Australia considers that international law does not grant a State the right to immunity from the jurisdiction of the courts of another State in proceedings concerning civil liability in respect of a State-owned ship used for commercial purposes. Australia also declares that, while being unable to accept the declaration by the German Democratic Republic, it does not regard that fact as precluding the entry into force of the Convention as between the German Democratic Republic and Australia.”

Belgium

The instrument of ratification of the Kingdom of Belgium was accompanied by a Note Verbale (in the French language) the text of which reads as follows:

[translation] “ . . . The Government of the Kingdom of Belgium regrets that it is unable to accept the reservation of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, dated 24 June 1975, in respect of article XI, paragraph 2 of the Convention.

The Belgian Government considers that international law does not authorize States to claim judicial immunity in respect of vessels belonging to them and used by them for commercial purposes.

Belgian legislation concerning the immunity of State-owned vessels is in concordance with the provisions of the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules concerning the Immunity of State-owned Ships, done at Brussels on 10 April 1926, to which Belgium is a Party.

The Belgian Government assumes that the reservation of the USSR does not in any way affect the provisions of article 16 of the Maritime Agreement between the Belgian-Luxembourg Economic Union and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, of the Protocol and the Exchange of Letters, signed at Brussels on 17 November 1972.

The Belgian Government also assumes that this reservation in no way affects the competence of a Belgian court which, in accordance with article IX of the aforementioned International Convention, is seized of an action for compensation for damage brought against a company registered in the USSR in its capacity of operator of a vessel owned by that State, because the said company, by virtue of article I, paragraph 3 of the same Convention, is considered to be the ‘owner of the ship’ in the terms of this Convention.

The Belgian Government considers, however, that the Soviet reservation does not impede the entry into force of the Convention as between the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the Kingdom of Belgium.”

China

At the time of depositing its instrument of accession the Representative of the People’s Republic of China declared “that the signature to the Convention by Taiwan authorities is illegal and null and void”.

German Democratic Republic

The instrument of accession of the German Democratic Republic was accompanied by the following statement and declarations (in the German language):

[translation] “In connexion with the declaration made by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany on 20 May 1975 concerning the application of the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage of 29 November 1969 to Berlin (West), it is the understanding of the German Democratic Republic that the provisions of the Convention may be applied to Berlin (West) only inasmuch as this is consistent with the Quadripartite Agreement of 3 September 1971, under which Berlin (West) is no constituent part of the Federal Republic of Germany and must not be governed by it.

The Government of the German Democratic Republic considers that the provisions of article XI, paragraph 2, of the Convention are inconsistent with the principle of immunity of States.

The Government of the German Democratic Republic considers that the provisions of article XIII, 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 interests of all States.

The position of the Government of the German Democratic Republic on article XVII 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 1514(XV) of 14 December 1960) proclaiming the necessity of bringing a speedy and unconditional end to colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.”

note: The following Governments do not accept the reservation contained in the instrument of accession of the Government of the German Democratic Republic, and the texts of their Notes to this effect were circulated by the depositary: Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Guatemala

The instrument of acceptance of the Republic of Guatemala contained the following declaration (in the Spanish language):

[translation] “It is declared that relations that may arise with Belize by virtue of this accession can in no sense be interpreted as recognition by the State of Guatemala of the independence and sovereignty unilaterally decreed by Belize.”

Italy

The instrument of ratification of the Italian Republic was accompanied by the following statement (in the Italian language):

[translation] “The Italian Government wishes to state that it has taken note of the reservation put forward by the Government of the Soviet Union (on the occasion of the deposit of the instrument of accession on 24 June 1975) to article XI(2) of the International) Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, adopted in Brussels on 29 November 1969.

The Italian Government declares that it cannot accept the aforementioned reservation and, with regard to the matter, observes that, under international law, the States have no right to jurisdictional immunity in cases where vessels of theirs are utilized for commercial purposes.

The Italian Government therefore considers its juridical bodies competent—as foreseen by article IX and XI(2) of the Convention—in actions for the recovery of losses incurred in cases involving vessels belonging to States employing them for commercial purposes, as indeed in cases where, on the basis of article I(3), it is a company, running vessels on behalf of a State, that is considered the owner of the vessel.

The reservation and its non-acceptance by the Italian Government do not, however, preclude the coming into force of the Convention between the Soviet Union and Italy, and its full implementation, including that of article XI(2).”

Peru

The instrument of accession of the Republic of Peru contained the following reservation (in the Spanish language):

[translation] “With respect to article II, because it considers that the said Convention will be understood as applicable to pollution damage caused in the sea area under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Peruvian State, up to the limit of 200 nautical miles, measured from the base lines of the Peruvian coast.”

note: The depositary received the following communication dated 14 July 1987 from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in London (in the English language):

“ . . . the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany has the honour to reiterate its well-known position as to the sea area up to the limit of 200 nautical miles, measured from the base lines of the Peruvian coast, claimed by Peru to be under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of the Peruvian State. In this respect the Federal Government points again to the fact that according to international law no coastal State can claim unrestricted sovereignty and jurisdiction beyond its territorial sea, and that the maximum breadth of the territorial sea according to international law is 12 nautical miles.”

The depositary received the following communication dated 4 November 1987 from the Permanent Mission of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to the International Maritime Organization (in the Russian language):

[translation] “ . . . the Soviet Side has the honour to confirm its position in accordance with which a coastal State has no right to claim an extension of its sovereignty to sea areas beyond the outer limit of its territorial waters the maximum breadth of which in accordance with international law cannot exceed 12 nautical miles.”

Saudi Arabia

The instrument of accession of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contained the following reservation (in the Arabic language):

[translation] “However, this accession does not in any way mean or entail the recognition of Israel, and does not lead to entering into any dealings with Israel, which may be arranged by the above-mentioned Convention and the said Protocol.”

St. Kitts and Nevis

The instrument of accession of St. Kitts and Nevis contained the following declaration:

“The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis considers that international law does not authorize States to claim judicial immunity in respect of vessels belonging to them and used by them for commercial purposes.”

Syrian Arab Republic

The instrument of accession of the Syrian Arab Republic contains the following sentence (in the Arabic language):

[translation] “ . . . this accession [to the Convention] in no way implies recognition of Israel and does not involve the establishment of any relations with Israel arising from the provisions of this Convention.”

U.S.S.R.

The instrument of accession of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics contains the following reservation (in the Russian language):

“The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics does not consider itself bound by the provisions of article XI, paragraph 2 of the Convention, as they contradict the principle of the judicial immunity of a foreign State.”

Furthermore, the instrument of accession contains the following statement (in the Russian language):

[translation] “On its accession to the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics considers it necessary to state that

(a) the provisions of article XIII, paragraph 2 of the Convention which deny participation in the Convention to a number of States, are of a discriminatory nature and contradict the generally recognized principle of the sovereign equality of States, and

(b) the provisions of article XVII of the Convention envisaging the possibility of its extension by the Contracting States to the territories for the international relations of which they are responsible are outdated and contradict the United Nations Declaration on Granting Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (resolution 1514(XV) of 14 December 1960).”

The depositary received on 17 July 1979 from the Embassy of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in London a communication stating that:

“ . . . the Soviet side confirms the reservation to paragraph 2 of article CI of the International Convention of 1969 on the Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, made by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics adhering to the Convention. This reservation reflects the unchanged and well-known position of the U.S.S.R. regarding the impermissibility of submitting a state without its express consent to the courts jurisdiction of another state. This principle of the judicial immunity of a foreign state is consistently upheld by the U.S.S.R. at concluding and applying multilateral international agreements on various matters, including those of merchant shipping and the Law of the Sea.

In accordance with article III and other provisions of the 1969 Convention, the liability for the oil pollution damage, established by the Convention is attached to “the owner” of “the ship”, which caused such damage, while paragraph 3 of article 1 of the Convention stipulates that “in the case of a ship owned by a state and operated by a company which in that state is registered as the ship’s operator, “owner” shall mean such company”. Since in the U.S.S.R. state ships used for commercial purposes are under the operational management of state organizations who have an independent liability on their obligations, it is only against these organizations and not against the Soviet state that actions for compensation of the oil pollution damage in accordance with the 1969 Convention could be brought. Thus the said reservation does not prevent the consideration in foreign courts in accordance with the jurisdiction established by the Convention, of such suits for the compensation of the damage by the merchant ships owned by the Soviet state.”

note: The following Governments do not accept the reservation contained in the instrument of accession of the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and the texts of their Notes to this effect were circulated by the depositary: Denmark, France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom.

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