Most Read Contributor in South Africa, September 2016
The South African coastline has claimed two more victims in
recent months, the mv KIANI SATU and mv SMART. Both vessels ran
aground close to environmentally sensitive regions where the
effects of an oil spill could have been devastating. Fortunately,
neither was a tanker, and in each case environmental degradation
South Africa acceded to the 1992 CLC and Fund Conventions* in
June 2004, but remains unable to access any of the compensation
these Conventions provide, owing to delays in implementing the
necessary domestic legislation. Happily, there has been
The Merchant Shipping (Civil Liability Convention) Bill and the
Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund)
Contributions Bill were both passed by the National Assembly this
month and must now be assented to by the President. The latter will
facilitate South Africa's access to the compensation provided
by the Fund Convention in circumstances where a full or partial
redress from the shipowner is not possible.
The Merchant Shipping (International Oil Pollution Compensation
Fund) Contributions Bill and the Merchant Shipping (International
Oil Pollution Compensation Fund) Administration Bill regulate the
collection of levies and taxes. These bills have also been approved
by the National Assembly and have been sent to the National Council
of Provinces for approval.
* The Fund Convention, an inter-governmental measure,
established a fund, contributed to by contracting states in
proportion to the volume of the imports of their individual oil
dealers, and financed by levies upon oil companies in proportion to
the volume of their imports. The fund was established with
the express aim of providing compensation for pollution damage to
the extent that the 1992 CLC is inadequate. These Conventions
only provide for pollution caused by oil tankers. Legislative
reform is separately required to address pollution caused by a
bunker spill from vessels other than tankers such as the vessels
referred to above.
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Attractive new shipping provisions in South Africa’s new Taxation Laws Amendment bill go some way in showing that the government is serious about taking steps to revive South Africa’s rather sleepy international shipping sector.
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