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Antarctic Act 2013

Preparatory measures

Section 5 – Duty to take preventative measures and make contingency plan

28.Section 5(2) requires the organiser of activities in Antarctica, where those activities are connected to the United Kingdom, to take reasonable preventative measures designed to reduce the risk of environmental emergencies arising from those activities and their potential adverse impact. This reflects Article 3 of the Liability Annex.

29.“Activities connected with the United Kingdom” is defined in section 13(9). “Environmental emergency” is defined in section 13(3), which reflects the definition in Article 2(b) of the Liability Annex.

30.Subsection (3) gives some examples of the preventative steps that the organiser may need to take to satisfy the obligation in subsection (2) to reduce the risk of environmental emergencies and reduce the potential adverse impact of any such emergencies. The examples of preventative measures outlined in subsection (3) are not exhaustive. Subsection (6) requires the measures to be taken before the persons who will carry out the activities enter Antarctica.

31.Subsection (4) requires those organising activities in Antarctica, where those activities are connected to the United Kingdom, to develop a contingency plan for responding to environmental emergencies and other incidents which may have a potential adverse impact on the Antarctic environment. This reflects Article 4 of the Liability Annex.

32.Subsection (5) gives examples of what a contingency plan required by subsection (4) might include, such as setting out plans for taking action in response to an environmental emergency or incident and arrangements for informing the Secretary of State. The examples outlined in subsection (5) are not exhaustive. Subsection (6) requires the plan to be made before the persons who will carry out the activities enter Antarctica.

33.Subsections (7) and (8) make it an offence to contravene the requirements of subsection (2) or (4) by the time specified in subsection (6). The penalties are set out in subsection (9).

Section 6 – Insurance relating to environmental emergencies

34.This section requires organisers of activities in Antarctica to secure adequate insurance cover or other financial security for (a) the costs of taking any response action required by section 1; and (b) any liability which may be incurred under section 2 or 3. This section reflects Article 11 of the Liability Annex.

35.Examples of “other financial security” are bonds or guarantees of a bank or similar institution.

36.Subsections (4) and (5) specify conditions that the insurance cover or financial security must satisfy to qualify as “adequate” for the purposes of subsection (1). It must not be subject to any limitation, exception or exclusion that makes it fundamentally deficient and the level of cover for liability under sections 2 and 3 must be at least as high as the limits on liability as set out in the Schedule to the Act.

37.Failure to secure adequate insurance or other financial security to cover potential liabilities before entering Antarctica is an offence under subsection (6) and will give rise to the penalties set out in subsection (7).

38.Subsection (8) exempts the Crown (as defined in section 10) and other Parties to Annex VI from the requirement to obtain insurance. This reflects Article 11(3) of the Liability Annex, which is based on the recognition that governments usually self-insure.

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