History

The environmental disaster caused by the Torrey Canyon incident in 1967 led to the development of an International Liability and Compensation Regime which evolved over many years into the successful system in place today. The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds has played a major role in that system, compensating victims of oil pollution damage since the establishment of the first IOPC Fund in 1978. A timeline of key events occurring since 1967 to the present day involving all three IOPC Funds is set out below. Scroll through the events by using the slider and select items for more details.

Also under this section, information is provided on the previous Directors of the IOPC Funds as well as details of the membership, winding up and dissolution of the 1971 Fund. 

Legislative changes
IOPC Funds events
Major incidents
Major incident developments
1966 1966
1967 1967

Torrey Canyon incident

The Torrey Canyon incident took place off the western coast of Cornwall, England in March 1967, causing an environmental disaster. At that time she was the largest vessel ever to be wrecked and the incident underlined the need for a comprehensive international compensation regime.

Torrey Canyon incident

1968 1968

TOVALOP/CRISTAL

The two voluntary industry schemes known as TOVALOP (Tanker Owners Voluntary Agreement concerning Liability for Oil Pollution) and CRISTAL (Contract Regarding an Interim Supplement to Tanker Liability for Oil Pollution) were adopted to provide, on an interim basis, similar benefits to the 1969 CLC and 1971 Fund Convention for States which had not ratified those Conventions.

TOVALOP/CRISTAL

1969 1969

1969 Civil Liability Convention adopted

The 1969 International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage (1969 Civil Liability Convention) was established under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to provide compensation for pollution damage caused by spills from oil tankers and adopted at an International Conference in November 1969.

1969 Civil Liability Convention adopted

1970 1970
1971 1971

1971 Fund Convention adopted

The International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (1971 Fund Convention) was established under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to provide a further tier of compensation for pollution damage caused by spills from oil tankers and adopted at an International Conference in December 1971.

1971 Fund Convention adopted

1972 1972
1973 1973
1974 1974
1975 1975

1969 Civil Liability Convention entered into force

The 1969 Civil Liability Convention (1969 CLC) entered into force on 19 June 1975.

1969 Civil Liability Convention entered into force

1976 1976
1977 1977
1978 1978

Mr Reinhard H Ganten elected as Director

At its first session held in November 1978, the 1971 Fund Assembly appointed Mr Reinhard H Ganten of Germany as the first Director of the IOPC Fund. He held the post for six years. 

Mr Reinhard H Ganten elected as Director

1971 Fund limit set at 30 million SDR

Under Article 4.4 of the Fund Convention, the the maximum limit to which the 1971 Fund could be held liable was 450 million francs (30 million SDR). However, the 1971 Fund Assembly decided to raise this amount in accordance with Article 4.6 to 675 million francs (45 million SDR).

1971 Fund limit set at 30 million SDR

1971 Fund established in London with 15 Member States

The International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund, 1971 (the 1971 Fund) was set up on 13 November 1978 with the opening of the first session of the 1971 Fund Assembly.

1971 Fund established in London with 15 Member States

1971 Fund Convention entered into force

The 1971 Fund Convention entered into force on 16 October 1978. The States Parties to the Convention at that date were : Algeria, Bahamas, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Japan, Liberia, Norway, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, United Kingdom (including Hong Kong) and Yugoslavia.

1971 Fund Convention entered into force

1979 1979
1980 1980

Tanio incident

The Tanio, which had sunk on 7 March 1980 off the coast of Brittany, France, led to the first major claim to be dealt with by the IOPC Fund.

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Tanio incident

1981 1981
1982 1982
1983 1983
1984 1984

Mr Måns Jacobsson elected as Director

At its October 1984 session, the 1971 Fund Assembly elected Mr Måns Jacobsson of Sweden Director of the IOPC Funds. He went on to hold the post for nearly 22 years until he retired in October 2006.

Mr Måns Jacobsson elected as Director

1985 1985
1986 1986

1971 Fund limit increased to 52.5 million SDR

Pursuant to the decision of the 1971 Fund Assembly in October 1986, the maximum limit of liability of the 1971 Fund in respect of any one incident occurring after 30 November 1986 was increased to 787 500 000 gold francs (52.5 million SDR).

1971 Fund limit increased to 52.5 million SDR

1987 1987

1971 Fund limit increased to 60 million SDR

Pursuant to the decision of the 1971 Fund Assembly in October 1986, a further increase to the maximum limit of liability of the 1971 Fund in respect of any one incident took effect from 30 November 1987. The limit was increased to 900 million gold francs (60 million SDR). 

1971 Fund limit increased to 60 million SDR

1988 1988
1989 1989

Exxon Valdez incident

The Exxon Valdez incident occurred in March 1989 off the coast of Alaska spilling some 37 000 tonnes of crude oil. It was the largest spill up to that date in US waters and led to the adoption of the Oil Pollution Act 1990 (OPA 90), which included a national compensation regime.

Exxon Valdez incident

1990 1990

Adoption of OPRC Convention

The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC) was adopted in November 1990, following calls to IMO from leading industrial nations to develop further measures to prevent pollution from ships.

Adoption of OPRC Convention

1991 1991

Haven incident

The Haven incident took place in April 1991 off the coast of Italy.

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Haven incident

1992 1992

1992 Protocols adopted

The main purpose of the 1992 Protocols to the 1969 Civil Liability Convention and the 1971 Fund Convention was to modify the entry into force requirements and increase compensation amounts. The scope of coverage of the Conventions was also extended when these protocol were adopted on 27 November 1992.

1992 Protocols adopted

Aegean Sea incident

The Aegean Sea took place off the coast of Spain in December, 1992.

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Aegean Sea incident

1993 1993

Braer incident

The Braer incident took place off the United Kingdom in January, 1993.

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Braer incident

1994 1994
1995 1995

Entry into force of OPRC Convention

The International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation (OPRC) entered into force on 13 May 1995.

Entry into force of OPRC Convention

1996 1996

1992 Fund Convention entered into force with 9 Member States and limit of 135 million SDR

The 1992 Fund Convention entered into force on 30 May 1996 with 9 Member States, namely Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Oman, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

1992 Fund Convention entered into force with 9 Member States and limit of 135 million SDR

1992 Civil Liability Convention entered into force

The 1992 Civil Liability Convention (1992 CLC) entered into force on 30 May 1996.

1992 Civil Liability Convention entered into force

Sea Empress incident

The Sea Empress incident took place off Wales, United Kingdom in February 1996.

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Sea Empress incident

1997 1997

Nissos Amorgos incident

On 28 February 1997, the Greek tanker Nissos Amorgos (50 563 GRT), carrying approximately 75 000 tonnes of Venezuelan crude oil, ran aground whilst passing through the Maracaibo Channel in the Gulf of Venezuela. Venezuelan authorities have maintained that the actual grounding occurred outside the Channel itself. An estimated 3 600 tonnes of crude oil were spilled. The incident has given rise to legal proceedings in a Criminal Court in Cabimas, civil courts in Caracas and Maracaibo, the Criminal Court of Appeal in Maracaibo and the Supreme Court....

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Nissos Amorgos incident

Nakhodka incident

The Nakhodka incident took place off Japan in January 1997.

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Nakhodka incident

1998 1998
1999 1999

Erika incident

On 12 December 1999, the Maltese-registered tanker Erika (19 666 GT) broke in two in the Bay of Biscay, some 60 nautical miles off the coast of Brittany, France. All members of the crew were rescued by the French maritime rescue services. The tanker was carrying a cargo of 31 000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil of which some 19 800 tonnes were spilled at the time of the incident. The bow section sank in approximately 100 metres of water. The stern section sank to a depth of 130 metres approximately ten nautical miles from the bow section. Some ...

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Erika incident

2000 2000

Adoption of the OPRC-HNS Protocol

The Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Co-operation to pollution Incidents by Hazardous and Noxious Substances (OPRC-HNS Protocol) entered into force on 15 March 2000.

Adoption of the OPRC-HNS Protocol

IOPC Funds moves headquarters to an independent location

Having previously been based within the Headquarters of the International Maritime Organization, in 2000 the IOPC Funds moved to its own offices in the Victoria area of London.

IOPC Funds moves headquarters to an independent location

2001 2001
2002 2002

Global settlement reached in respect of the Aegean Sea incident

During heavy weather, the Aegean Sea (57 801 GRT) ran aground while approaching La Coruña harbour in the north-west of Spain, on 3 December 1992. The ship, which was carrying approximately 80 000 tonnes of crude oil, broke in two and burnt fiercely for about 24 hours. The forward section sank some 50 metres from the coast. The stern section remained largely intact.

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Global settlement reached in respect of the Aegean Sea incident

1971 Fund Convention ceases to be in force

In accordance with Article 43.1 of the 1971 Fund Convention, as amended by the Protocol of 2000, the Convention ceased to be in force on 24 May 2002, when the number of States Parties to the Convention fell below 25.

1971 Fund Convention ceases to be in force

Prestige incident

On 13 November 2002, the Bahamas-registered tanker Prestige (42 820 GT), carrying 76 972 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, began listing and leaking oil some 30 kilometres off Cabo Finisterre, Galicia, Spain. On 19 November, whilst under tow away from the coast, the vessel broke in two and sank some 260 kilometres west of Vigo, Spain, the bow section to a depth of 3 500 metres and the stern section to a depth of 3 830 metres. The break-up and sinking released an estimated 63 200 tonnes ...

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Prestige incident

2003 2003

IOPC Funds celebrate their 25th anniversary with a special publication

The 1971 Fund Convention entered into force on 16 October 1978 and the 25th anniversary of the 1971 Fund was marked by the publishing of a commemorative book in the three official languages of the Funds (English, French and Spanish).

IOPC Funds celebrate their 25th anniversary with a special publication

1992 Fund limit increased to 203 million SDR

In October 2000, the Legal Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) considered a proposal by a number of States to increase the limits of liability and compensation under the 1992 Civil Liability Convention and the 1992 Fund Convention by using the special procedure laid down in the Conventions, the ‘tacit amendment procedure’. The Committee adopted two Resolutions increasing the limits contained in the Conventions by some 50.37%. The amendments entered into force on 1 November 2003.

1992 Fund limit increased to 203 million SDR

Supplementary Fund Protocol adopted

A Diplomatic Conference, held in London in May 2003 under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization, adopted the Supplementary Fund Protocol which went on to create a Supplementary Compensation Fund.The Supplementary Fund does not replace the existing Fund (‘1992 Fund’) but makes available additional compensation to victims in the States which accede to the Protocol.

Supplementary Fund Protocol adopted

2004 2004
2005 2005

Supplementary Fund Protocol entered into force with 8 Member States

The Supplementary Fund was established on 3 March 2005 as a result of the entry into force of a Protocol to the 1992 Fund Convention which was adopted in May 2003. The eight Supplementary Fund Member States at the time of the Protocol's entry into force were: Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Norway and Spain.

Supplementary Fund Protocol entered into force with 8 Member States

Mr Willem Oosterveen elected as Director

The 1992 Fund Assembly elected Mr Willem J G Oosterveen of the Netherlands as Director of the IOPC Funds in October 2005. Mr Oosterveen held office from November 2006 - October 2011.

Mr Willem Oosterveen elected as Director

2006 2006

Adoption of STOPIA 2006 and TOPIA 2006

STOPIA 2006 and TOPIA 2006 are two voluntary agreements, under which the shipowner/P&I Clubs will reimburse the 1992 Fund and the Supplementary Fund for part of the compensation payable by the Funds under the 1992 Fund Convention and the Supplementary Fund Protocol, respectively. The agreements entered into force on 20 February 2006. 

Adoption of STOPIA 2006 and TOPIA 2006

Solar 1 incident

On 11 August 2006, the Philippines registered tanker Solar 1 (998 GT), laden with a cargo of 2 081 tonnes of industrial fuel oil, sank in heavy weather in the Guimaras Strait, some 10 nautical miles south of Guimaras Island, the Philippines.

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Solar 1 incident

2007 2007

June meetings of the IOPC Funds governing bodies held in Montreal, Canada

From 12 to 15 June 2007, the governing bodies of the IOPC Funds held a number of meetings which, at the invitation of the Government of Canada, took place at the Headquarters of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in Montreal, Canada. 

June meetings of the IOPC Funds governing bodies held in Montreal, Canada

Entry into force of the OPRC-HNS Protocol

The Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Co-operation to pollution Incidents by Hazardous and Noxious Substances (OPRC-HNS Protocol) follows the principles of the OPRC Convention and was formally adopted by States already Party to the OPRC Convention in March 2000 and entered into force in June 2007.

Entry into force of the OPRC-HNS Protocol

Hebei Spirit incident

On 7 December 2007, the Hong Kong-registered tanker Hebei Spirit (146 848 GT) was struck by the crane barge Samsung Nº1 while at anchor about five nautical miles off Taean on the west coast of the Republic of Korea. The crane barge was being towed by two tugs (Samsung Nº5 and Samho T3) when the tow line broke. Weather conditions were poor and it was reported that the crane barge had drifted into the tanker, puncturing three of its port cargo tanks. The Hebei Spirit was laden with about 209 000 tonnes of four different crude oils. Due to inclement ...

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Hebei Spirit incident

2008 2008

Membership of 1992 Fund exceeds 100 States

The Cook Islands became the 100th Member State to join the 1992 Fund on 12 March 2008. 

Membership of 1992 Fund exceeds 100 States

March meetings of the IOPC Funds governing bodies held in Monaco

On 11, 12 and 13 March 2008, the governing bodies of the IOPC Funds held a number of meetings which, at the invitation of the Government of the Principality of Monaco, took place at the Monte Carlo Sporting Complex, Monaco.

March meetings of the IOPC Funds governing bodies held in Monaco

2009 2009
2010 2010

HNS Protocol adopted

An International Conference on the revision of the HNS Convention was held in April 2010 during which the Protocol of 2010 to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996 (2010 HNS Protocol) was adopted. 

HNS Protocol adopted

2011 2011

Mr José Maura elected as Director

José Maura joined the IOPC Funds as a Claims Manager and became the Head of the Claims Department in January 2002. Mr Maura was appointed Acting Director of the IOPC Funds on 21 September 2010 and on 26 October 2011 was elected Director for a term of five years.

Mr José Maura elected as Director

Global settlement reached in respect of the Erika incident

A global settlement was reached between the 1992 Fund Steamship Mutual (acting on its own behalf and also on behalf of the shipowner's interests), Registro Italiano Navale (RINA) and Total, in respect of the Erika incident in October 2011. The main objective of the global settlement was to ensure that civil parties who, by the judgement of the Criminal Court of Appeal in Paris in March 2010, had been awarded compensation for damage caused as a result of the incident, received such compensation as soon as possible.

Global settlement reached in respect of the Erika incident

March meetings of the IOPC Funds governing bodies held in Marrakech, Morocco

From Tuesday 29 March to Friday 1 April 2011 the governing bodies of the IOPC Funds held meetings which, at the invitation of the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, took place at the Es Saadi Gardens and Resort in Marrakech, Morocco. 

March meetings of the IOPC Funds governing bodies held in Marrakech, Morocco

2012 2012
2013 2013
2014 2014

Dissolution of the 1971 Fund

At the October 2014 session of the 1971 Fund Administrative Council, 1971 Fund Member States voted to wind up the 1971 Fund with effect from 31 December 2014. Consequently the 1971 Fund ceased to exist as of that date.

Dissolution of the 1971 Fund

2015 2015
2016 2016

Offices of the Secretariat relocate to the IMO building

In July 2016 the offices of IOPC Funds’ Secretariat relocated from Portland House, Victoria, London, to its new premises in the same building as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) at Albert Embankment, London.

Offices of the Secretariat relocate to the IMO building

2017 2017