Civil liability for damage caused by oil pollution from off-shore platforms : a comparative analysis of international and domestic instruments.
This dissertation addresses the question of liability for oil spills emanating from offshore installations, beginning with an analysis of international law, specifically international customary law, global conventions and regional agreements. Following the analysis of the present international law, a number of proposals are considered in motivation of a global convention specifically addressing offshore platforms. Key areas addressed are the scope of the proposed convention, the standard of liability imposed, the quantum of liability suggested, financial security measures, dispute resolution proceedings and alternatives to a global convention. Legal instruments discussed in this portion include the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution and a number of global and regional legal instruments. This discussion will also draw analogies with the nuclear compensation regime in motivation for strict liability between States. The domestic legal framework of the United States of America and South Africa are discussed and contrasted. The primary federal marine pollution legislation of the USA, the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, is compared to South Africa’s Marine Pollution (Control and Civil Liability) Act 6 of 1981 in order to determine which provisions are successful and which ought to be amended or supplemented. Other sources of South Africa law considered include the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998, the Maritime Zones Act 15 of 1994, the Admiralty Jurisdiction and Regulation Act 105 of 1983 as well principles of South African common law. The objectives of this research are to identify all the international and domestic legal instruments that are applicable to offshore platforms, critically evaluate their provisions and propose realistic amendments and instruments that resolve any lacunae or weaknesses that are identified.