Key Historical Moments
The Arrow Tanker
In February, the Arrow strikes rock in Chedabucto Bay, Nova Scotia, spilling some 8,000 tonnes of oil.
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.
The Canada Shipping Act is amended
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.
A levy comes into force
A levy of 15 cents on every tonne of oil imported or exported from Canada comes into force, to finance the MPCF.
The 1969 Civil Liability Convention
The 1969 Civil Liability Convention enters into force internationally.
The collection of the levy to finance the MPCF is suspended.
The 1971 Fund Convention
The 1971 Fund Convention enters into force internationally.
In March, the Kurdistan breaks in two in the southern entrance of Cabot Strait, spilling some 7,500 tonnes of oil.
The Ocean Ranger
On February 15, 1982, Ocean Ranger, a semi-submersible offshore mobile drilling rig, sank in Canada. There were no survivors of the 84 crew members on board.
The tug Ocean Service
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.
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.
Canada adopts the international scheme for liability and compensation
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.
SOPF – Ship-source Oil Pollution Fund
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.
The Canada Shipping Act authorizes a levy
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.
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.
2 Conventions Adopted Internationally
The Protocols to the 1969 Civil Liability Convention and the 1971 Fund Convention are adopted internationally.
Amendments expand the role of the SOPF
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.
The Canada Shipping Act is amended
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.
The Bunkers Convention
The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage (the Bunkers Convention) is adopted internationally.
The liability and compensation provisions in Part XVI of the Canada Shipping Act are transferred to the Marine Liability Act, Part 6.
The Supplementary Fund
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.
Part 6 of the Marine Liability Act is amended
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.
Modifications to the Marine Liability Act
Legislative amendments to the Marine Liability Act (MLA) to modernize the Fund came into force in December 2018.