Singapore to seek compensation from owner of ship that was hit in oil spill incident

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore said on June 20 that the ship­owner of bunker vessel Marine Honour is liable for the costs incurred and that the ship has insurance coverage to meet this liability.

Yong Li Xuan

Yong Li Xuan

The Straits Times

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Singapore-flagged bunker vessel Marine Honour, which was involved in the incident, anchored in the Western Anchorage on June 18. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

June 21, 2024

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s government agencies will seek compensation for the costs incurred after the June 14 oil spill from the owner of the Singapore-flagged ship that leaked fuel after it was hit by another vessel.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said on June 20 that the ship­owner of bunker vessel Marine Honour is liable for the costs incurred and that the ship has insurance coverage to meet this liability.

It said that this falls under the Merchant Shipping (Civil Liability and Compensation for Oil Pollution) Act 1998, which is Singapore’s enactment of the 1992 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage.

Under this Act, the owner of Marine Honour has strict liability, which means it is liable even if it is not at fault, for the pollution damage caused by the oil spill from its tanker in Singapore waters, MPA explained.

It said: “The spirit of the ‘polluter pays’ principle simplifies the claims process by having a clear party against which to pursue claims without potential complications of proving fault.”

The owner of Marine Honour can seek recourse against third parties for its pollution liability, it added.

MPA said Singapore’s government agencies will seek compensation for the “cost of all measures taken to contain and clean up the spill, including where damage was caused to infrastructure” after the cleanup operation.

“Costs for measures reasonably taken after the spill, resulting economic losses and environmental damage arising from the contamination can be assessed for claims,” it added.

Affected parties can e-mail British Marine, the insurer of Marine Honour, at [email protected] for third-party claims.

On June 14, Netherlands-flagged dredging boat Vox Maxima hit Marine Honour at the Pasir Panjang Terminal, causing 400 tonnes of fuel to leak into the sea.

The Singapore authorities said in a joint statement on June 20 that the beaches on St John’s, Lazarus and Kusu islands have been cleared of oily sand as at 5pm on June 19. The northern part of Pasir Panjang Terminal has also been cleared of oil slicks.

The last time a large amount of oil leaked into Singapore’s waters was in 2014, when three ship collisions in January and February caused a total of 760 tonnes of fuel to pollute Singapore’s waters.

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