Philippine tanker oil spill claims surpass 30,000

Significant number of claimants did not possess bank accounts

Philippine tanker oil spill claims surpass 30,000


By Kenneth Araullo

Data presented at the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds’ (IOPC Funds) November meeting revealed that compensation claims have been made for a Philippine tanker sinking of PHP1.4 billion ($25.3 million), $26.4 million, and €2.7 million ($2.9 million), so far.

Earlier this year, the sinking of the tanker Princess Empress off Oriental Mindoro in the Philippines resulted in significant oil pollution and has now led to 35,500 claims totalling over $50 million. The Princess Empress, a 1,143-dwt vessel built in 2022, sank in February, causing widespread environmental damage.

According to a Trade Winds report, the initial layer of claims, up to the owner’s liability limit, will be covered by the Shipowners’ Club, the Princess Empress’s P&I insurer. The remaining compensation will be paid through the IOPC Funds, in accordance with the 1992 Civil Liability Convention (1992 CLC) and the Small Tanker Oil Pollution Indemnification Agreement.

A significant number of claimants, approximately 33,000, are from the local fishing industry. This high number of claimants has presented logistical challenges, particularly as most do not possess bank accounts.

Despite these difficulties, the IOPC Funds, working with the Shipowners’ Club, has found alternative payment methods, and has continued making provisional payments to mitigate financial hardship for those affected. To date, the Shipowners’ Club and IOPC Funds have disbursed PHP42.5 million, $24.8 million, and €2.6 million.

Claims exceeding $10 million under the Shipowners’ Club’s liability will be covered by the International Group of P&I Clubs claims pool.

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