Sunken Philippine oil tanker payout capped at US$284m

Damage to fisheries and losses suffered by fishermen now at US$68.4 million

Sunken Philippine oil tanker payout capped at US$284m


By Kenneth Araullo

A Philippine Department of Justice official said that the Philippines can only receive US$284 million (PHP15.7 billion) from the insurers of the sunk MT Princess Empress and from the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC). This payout cap is leagues below the earlier figure mentioned by the tanker’s owners, which put the insurance coverage for the event at US$1 billion, or PHP55.56 billion.

Justice undersecretary Raul Vasquez revealed this amount following a meeting with IOPC director Gaute Sivertsen. IOPC has a mandate to assist member states from damages relating to oil spills. At the time of writing, the damage to fisheries and losses suffered by fishermen in the areas affected by the oil spill now stand at US$68.4 million.

“The maximum coverage for the oil spill, based on the IOPC, is only up to 203 million SDR [Special Drawing Rights] or US$284 million. It’s not $1 billion, as earlier mentioned and floated around,” Vasquez said in a report from Rappler.

Philippines not qualified for maximum coverage

Vasquez said that the Philippines is not qualified for the maximum coverage of US$1 billion as the country is not yet a signatory to the Supplementary Fund, an international convention that aims to provide additional funds for member states in case the original maximum coverage from the 1992 fund was breached.

The tanker’s owner, RDC Reield Marine Services, earlier said that the MT Princess Empress is insured by the Shipowner’s Club, a mutual insurance association that provides protection and indemnity to smaller and specialist vessel owners, operators, and charterers across the world.

Last month, the insurers opened a claims caravan in the area to assess claims from affected Mindoro residents, in particular the fishermen whose livelihoods were affected.

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