Hong Kong has recently enacted the Bunker Oil Pollution
(Liability and Compensation) Ordinance. Under this Ordinance,
shipowners will be held liable for the damage arising from
contamination caused by the discharge or escape of bunker oil from
ships or in respect of a threat of such damage. That said,
shipowners will not be held liable unless the damage concerned is a
loss of profits from the impairment of the environment or cost of
reasonable reinstatement measures of the environment actually taken
or to be taken.
Other persons, for example servants or agents of the shipowner,
persons employed on board the ship or persons performing salvage
operations and taking preventive measures, may also be held liable
for such damage if they did an act or omitted to do an act
intentionally to cause damage or recklessly knowing that the damage
would probably be caused.
The Ordinance also provides that a ship is not allowed to enter
or leave Hong Kong waters unless the ship has taken out insurance
to cover liability for pollution damage and there is a recognized
insurance certificate to that effect. Contravention of this
requirement is an offence and both the master and the registered
owner of the ship will be liable to pay a fine of up to HK$500,000.
The master of a ship must also ensure that the insurance
certificate is kept on the ship at all times and produce the
certificate for inspection when requested by an enforcement
officer. Failure to do so is also an offence punishable by
Finally, it should be noted that directors, managers,
secretaries, officers, etc. of a company may be held liable for
offences under this Ordinance if it is proved that the offence was
committed with the consent or connivance of that person or due to
any neglect on the part of such person.
This Ordinance came into force on 22 January 2010.
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are separate entities ("Mayer Brown Practices"). The
Mayer Brown Practices are: JSM, a Hong Kong partnership, and its
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limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales;
and Mayer Brown LLP, a limited liability partnership established in
the United States. The Mayer Brown Practices are known as Mayer
Brown JSM in Asia.
This article provides information and comments on legal
issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a
comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not
intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific
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