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Merchant Shipping Act 1988

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

1For section 1 substitute—

1Liability for oil pollution

(1)Where, as a result of any occurrence, any oil is discharged or escapes from a ship to which this section applies, then (except as otherwise provided by this Act) the owner of the ship shall be liable—

(a)for any damage caused outside the ship in the area of the United Kingdom by contamination resulting from the discharge or escape; and

(b)for the cost of any measures reasonably taken after the discharge or escape for the purpose of preventing or minimising any damage so caused in the area of the United Kingdom by contamination resulting from the discharge or escape; and

(c)for any damage so caused in the area of the United Kingdom by any measures so taken.

(2)Where, as a result of any occurrence, there arises a grave and imminent threat of damage being caused outside a ship to which this section applies by contamination resulting from a discharge or escape of oil from the ship, then (except as otherwise provided by this Act) the owner of the ship shall be liable—

(a)for the cost of any measures reasonably taken for the purpose of preventing or minimising any such damage in the area of the United Kingdom; and

(b)for any damage caused outside the ship in the area of the United Kingdom by any measures so taken;

and in this Act any such threat is referred to as a relevant threat of contamination.

(3)Subject to subsection (4) of this section, this section applies to any ship constructed or adapted for carrying oil in bulk as cargo.

(4)Where any ship so constructed or adapted is capable of carrying other cargoes besides oil, this section shall apply to any such ship—

(a)while it is carrying oil in bulk as cargo; and

(b)unless it is proved that no residues from the carriage of any such oil remain in the ship, while it is on any voyage following the carriage of any such oil,

but not otherwise.

(5)Where a person incurs a liability under subsection (1) or (2) of this section he shall also be liable for any damage or cost for which he would be liable under that subsection if the references in it to the area of the United Kingdom included the area of any other Convention country.

(6)Where—

(a)as a result of any occurrence, a liability is incurred under this section by the owner of each of two or more ships, but

(b)the damage or cost for which each of the owners would be liable cannot reasonably be separated from that for which the other or others would be liable,

each of the owners shall be liable, jointly with the other or others, for the whole of the damage or cost for which the owners together would be liable under this section.

(7)For the purposes of this Act—

(a)references to a discharge or escape of oil from a ship are references to such a discharge or escape wherever it may occur, and whether it is of oil carried in a cargo tank or of oil carried in a bunker fuel tank;

(b)where more than one discharge or escape results from the same occurrence or from a series of occurrences having the same origin, they shall be treated as one, but any measures taken after the first of them shall be deemed to have been taken after the discharge or escape; and

(c)where a relevant threat of contamination results from a series of occurrences having the same origin, they shall be treated as a single occurrence.

(8)The [1945 c. 28.] Law Reform (Contributory Negligence) Act 1945 and, in Northern Ireland, the [1948 c. 23 (N.I.).] Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (Northern Ireland) 1948 shall apply in relation to any damage or cost for which a person is liable under this section, but which is not due to his fault, as if it were due to his fault.

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