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International Maritime Organisation

Volume 405: debated on Monday 12 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the UK will become a contracting party to the IMO Bunkers 2001 Convention. [111425]

The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (the Bunkers Convention) was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2001. It will establish a regime for adequate, prompt and effective compensation to persons who suffer damage caused by spills of oil, when carried as fuel in ships bunkers.On 19 September 2002 the Council of the European Union issued a Decision authorising member states, in the interest of the Community, to sign, ratify or accede to the Bunkers Convention, taking the necessary steps to deposit instruments of ratification, or accession with the Secretary General of the IMO if possible before 30 June 2006.On 26 September 2002, the United Kingdom signed the Convention as a clear signal of intent to become party in the near future. We are working with both EU counterparts and states with an interest internationally so that the Convention is brought into operation as soon as possible.