Key Historical Moments Content



1970

The Arrow Tanker

February 20, 1970

The Arrow Tanker

In February, the Arrow strikes rock in Chedabucto Bay, Nova Scotia, spilling some 8,000 tonnes of oil.


1970

The Irving Whale

September 20, 1970

The Irving Whale

In September, the oil barge Irving Whale sinks off the north coast of Prince Edward Island, while en route to Bathurst, New Brunswick, with a cargo of oil on board.


1971

The Canada Shipping Act is amended

April 20, 1971

The Canada Shipping Act is amended. Part XX establishes the Maritime Pollution Claims Fund (MPCF), as a fund of last resort to be used only when all other legal remedies against a shipowner have been exhausted. The Canadian compensation regime is based on the fundamental principle that the shipowner is primarily liable for oil pollution caused by the ship.


1972

A levy comes into force

April 20, 1972

A levy of 15 cents on every tonne of oil imported or exported from Canada comes into force, to finance the MPCF.


1975

The 1969 Civil Liability Convention

June 20, 1975

The 1969 Civil Liability Convention enters into force internationally.


1976

Levy suspended.

June 20, 1976

The collection of the levy to finance the MPCF is suspended.


1978

The 1971 Fund Convention

October 16, 1978

The 1971 Fund Convention enters into force internationally.


1979

The Kurdistan

March 16, 1979

The Kurdistan

In March, the Kurdistan breaks in two in the southern entrance of Cabot Strait, spilling some 7,500 tonnes of oil.


1982

The Ocean Ranger

February 15, 1982

The Ocean Ranger

The Ocean Ranger disaster


1988

The tug Ocean Service strikes the tank barge Nestucca

December 20, 1988

In December, the tug Ocean Service strikes the tank barge Nestucca off the coast of Washington State, resulting in a spill of some 875 tonnes of oil in US waters, that washes ashore on Canada’s West coast


1989

The Exxon Valdez

March 24, 1989

The Exxon Valdez

In March, the Exxon Valdez grounds on Bligh Reef in Alaska, resulting in a spill of some 44,000 tonnes of oil in US waters.


1989

Canada adopts the international scheme for liability and compensation

April 24, 1989

Canada decides to adopt the international scheme for liability and compensation for oil pollution damage from ships and accedes to the 1969 Civil Liability Convention and the 1971 International Fund Convention on April 24, 1989.


1989

SOPF – Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund

April 24, 1989

The Canada Shipping Act is amended. Part XVI transforms the MPCF into the Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund (SOPF). The accumulated funds in the MPCF are transferred to the SOPF. The SOPF provides an additional level of compensation over that of the international conventions and also meets claims that are not covered by the conventions, such as mystery spills.


1989

The Canada Shipping Act authorizes a levy

April 24, 1989

The Canada Shipping Act authorizes a levy, were it to be imposed, at 30 cents per tonne to be indexed annually in the same manner as the limit of liability of the SOPF.


1990

the Rio Orinoco

October 16, 1990

the Rio Orinoco

In October, the Rio Orinoco, loaded with 9,080 tonnes of liquid asphalt, grounds on the south shore of Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, spilling 200 tonnes of fuel oil. The Canadian Government’s claim for costs and expenses incurred is presented to, and paid by, the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund.


1992

2 Conventions Adopted Internationally

November 27, 1992

The Protocols to the 1969 Civil Liability Convention and the 1971 Fund Convention are adopted internationally.


1993

Amendments expand the role of the SOPF

April 20, 1993

Part XVI of the Canada Shipping Act is amended to establish a framework for a national system of preparedness and oil spill response founded upon the Canadian Coast Guard and private sector funded response organizations. The amendments expand the role of the SOPF by permitting the Canadian Government direct access as a claimant to the Fund.


1999

The Canada Shipping Act is amended

December 20, 1999

The Canada Shipping Act is amended after Canada accedes to the 1992 CLC and the 1992 IOPC Fund. That same year, Canada ceased to be a Member State to the 1969 Civil Liability Convention and the 1971 IOPC Fund Convention.


2001

The Bunkers Convention

March 10, 2001

The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (the Bunkers Convention) is adopted internationally.


2001

Provisions transferred

June 19, 2001

The liability and compensation provisions in Part XVI of the Canada Shipping Act are transferred to the Marine Liability Act, Part 6.


2005

The Supplementary Fund

March 5, 2005

The Protocol of 2003 creating the Supplementary Fund enters into force internationally, increasing the total amount available for compensation for pollution damage in Member states.


2010

Part 6 of the Marine Liability Act is amended

March 20, 2010

Part 6 of the Marine Liability Act is amended to implement the Supplementary Fund Protocol and the Bunkers Convention. The amendments are applied, in Part 7, to the SOPF and modernize the governance of the Fund.