BC Shipping News – May 2019

Industry Insight : More than just big spills from tankers…Anne Legars, Administrator, Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund…Legars provides insight into Canada’s oil spill liability and compensation regime, noting that it’s not just for big spills from tankers”



APRIL 24, 2019


OTTAWA – The Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund (the Fund) today celebrates 30 years of compensating victims of oil pollution from ships. Since its creation in 1989, the Fund has received more than 409 claims and paid $24 million in compensation following the discharge – or the risk of a discharge – of oil in Canadian waters from ships of all types.

“Thirty years ago today, Canada established a compensation regime whereby victims of pollution can be compensated directly by the Fund, which then takes action against the polluter, while protecting taxpayers”, said Anne Legars, the Fund’s Administrator. “Since 1989, guided by the polluter pays principle, the Fund has been involved in 48 court cases, and as a result of its increased efforts over the last three years, it has recovered $2.6 million through the courts and out of court, more than ever before!”

Here are a few more key numbers:

  • The Canadian Coast Guard remains the Fund’s main claimant, with close to 7 out of 10 claims submitted to the Fund;
  • 1 out of every 4 claims involves a derelict or abandoned vessel or a wreck;
  • The largest amount claimed in a single year was in 2017-2018, when the Fund received 32 claims totalling $7 million;
  • The highest compensation amount paid to a single claimant was in 2018, when the Fund paid $4.2 million to the Canadian Coast Guard following the sinking of the Chaulk Determination in Trois-Rivières;
  • Canadian victims received $12 million from the International Funds following the spill of 200 tons of fuel oil from the tanker Rio Orinoco, which sank off Anticosti Island in 1990;
  • 2017-2018 was an historic year in terms of the diversity of claimants.

Throughout the year of celebration, the Fund will maximize its communication efforts in order to increase awareness of the Fund and continue to promote access to justice and compensation.

“We are actively working to inform all potential claimants of the Fund’s existence and the compensation they are entitled to, particularly by publishing more tools aimed at facilitating claims”, said Anne Legars, who is inviting all Canadians to participate online in the Fund’s anniversary conference scheduled for May 28, 2019 by visiting the following link:


FOR MORE INFORMATION / POUR PLUS D’INFORMATION: Jannie Bédard Guillemette: 613-998-8813

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Canadian Sailings – March 2019 Issue: Celebrating 30 years of compensating victims of oil pollution

Our Administrator, Anne Legars, wrote an article in Canadian Sailings magazine for the March 2019 issue. The article summarizes the activities of the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund over the last thirty years, and discusses significant legislative amendments in December 2018.

Thank you to Canadian Sailings for telling our story.

To read the article, please visit Canadian Sailings website, or follow the link below.

Annual Report

The 2017-2018 Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund Annual Report is now available on our website (, under “Publications”). Should you have any suggestions for next year’s report, please forward them to

Please note that the summaries for all incident cases listed in the appendix of the annual report, (page 36) can be found on the SOPF website (, under “Incidents and Claims Portfolio”).

SOPF Claims Manual

The last version of the SOPF Claims Manual was issued in 2014. It focuses on claims for clean-up costs and preventative measures.

In the recent past, the Fund has received a number of claims and queries, which were not covered by the claims manual. We are therefore planning to issue a new version of the claims manual, along the following lines:

  • The claims manual would be structured as forms, one for each type of claim or damage.
  • The use of these forms would not be mandatory, but they could be used as a checklist of the key elements that will be needed for the assessment of claims by the Administrator’s Office.
  • The forms would be accompanied by some guidance text. The International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds Example Claim Form could be used as an inspiration:

If you wish to receive a draft copy of the new version when it is ready to be circulated to stakeholders for comments, please contact

Please note that, as a side project, the Administrator’s Office is also compiling and updating its claims management policies and assessment practices with the view to posting them on SOPF’s website.