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A Disaster To Remember

Karachiites will never forget the massive pollution caused by the grounding debacle of M.T. Tasman Spirit at Karachi Harbour channel in August 2003, spilling 30,000 tons of crude oil, in the harbour and affecting largely Clifton and Sea View Beach, with tons of black crude. The residents of Sea View and Defence were largely affected and were displaced for weeks due to toxic fume up to several miles.

It could be anybody's wild guess that, what damage to marine life the spill may have caused, as no biological study of marine species was made due to the non-availability of experts and resources. It is a well established fact that crude has carcigionic effect and our future generations will pay the price of our ignorance, due to sedimentation.

Karachi Port was not adequately equipped to even OPRC I level to combat the situation, thus foreign help of IMO and ITOPF/10PC were sought. I must compliment MPD of KPT which did its best with limited resources. The enquiry conducted by the DG (P&S), speaks volumes of lapses, but unfortunately the same has not been made public although being mandatory as per the convention, IMO was provided a copy of the investigation.

It is now a closed chapter. Till date no compensation, if any, has been made to plaintiff DHA citizens etc, but due to mishandling/lack of expertise and interference, the owners of the vessel escaped action and lodged arbitration proceedings in London against the Pak public sector charterers of the vessel.

It is a fact that the vessel's class was withdrawn by NKK, thus it was un-seaworthy, but no one ever knew the status of the vessel, but an enquiry identified the lapse. The arbitration award must be made public. We are, a nation which never learned from history. Only a year back on 14th August 2002 M.T. Golden Gate spilled crude in Karachi Harbour, but the matter was hushed up for reasons best known only to the vested interests and no lessons were learnt, nor equipment was procured to combat oil pollution.


a) Abandoning of listed and damaged M.T.,Yashick on our coast in June, 1998 which resulted in a major oil spill on our Balochistan Coast

b) Pumping of oil in PQA by an unknown oil tanker in 1996. This resulted not only in ecological damage to our mangroves and tammar trees, but also caused problem to cooling system of KESC power generating station situated nearby

c) Major oil pollution caused by M.T. Golden Gate on 14th August 2002, in KPT when it struck and sank a trawler spilling 1300 tonnes of oil.

d) The catastrophic oil spill (30,000 tonnes) due to the grounding of M.T. Tasman Spirit at KPT on 27th July 2003.

Besides immediate apparent damage due to visible oil pollution, there is continuous and gradual degradation of our marine environment due to leakages of oil or chemicals from these wrecks on our coast. The most shocking news is that the perpetrators of these acts go scot-free.

Compensation from oil pollution damages caused by oil spills are governed by an elaborate international regime. The original framework of the regime was 1969 international convention on civil liability for oil pollution damage (CLC-69) and International Convention for the establishment of an international fund for compensation for oil pollution damage 1971. This old regime was amended in 1992 by two protocols, ie CLC 92 and Fund 92.

One really wonders at the competence of the ministry concerned despite so many pollutions ignoring ratification of conventions. However, fortunately, CLC-92 was ratified in the year 2004. It is also worth noting that under CLC-92, compensation is payable without any contribution, but in the case of Fund-92 contribution is payable to IOPC fund by the State, which is nominal when bench marked with benefits.

Remaining aloof and unconcerned due to lack of competence, non professionals at the helm of affairs, with the happenings around us, in this age of international co-operation, defies logic and is not conceivable. As of July 2008, 120 states, representing 96.31% of World Tonnage had ratified CLC-92 and 102 states representing 93.66% of World Tonnage had ratified Fund-92.

Realisation had dawned in 2004 to ratify the CLC-92 after persistent efforts, but moves to join Fund-92 failed as Petroleum Ministry and consignees of oil, despite many moves could not be educated to pay the contribution to prevent oil pollutions. I am giving the benefits which Pakistan may draw in the event of oil pollution under two regimes.

UNDER CLC-92: 2005,326 SDR (IMF Standard Drawing Rights)

UNDER FUND -92: 135,000,000 SDR (including shipowner's share)

THE 2000 AMENDMENTS ADOPTED ON 18TH OCTOBER, 2000 WHICH CAME INTO FORCE ON 1ST NOVEMBER, 2003 RAISED THE COMPENSATION LIMITS BY 50 PERCENT COMPARED TO THE LIMITS SET IN THE 1992 PROTOCOL, AS FOLLOW: For a ship not exceeding 5000 gross tonnage, liability is limited to 4.51 million SDR (US $5.78 million). Under the 1992 Protocol, the limit was 3 million SDR (US $3.8 million).

FOR A SHIP 5,000 TO 140,000 GROSS TONNAGE: liability is limited to 4.51 million SDR (US $5.78 million) plus 631 SDR (US $807) for each additional gross tonne over 5,000 (Under the 1992 Protocol, the limit was 3 million SDR (US $3.8 million) plus 420 SDR (US $537.6) for each additional gross tonne).

FOR A SHIP OF OVER 140,000 GROSS TONNAGE: Liability is limited to 89.77 SDR (US $115 million) (Under the 1992 Protocol, the limit was 59.7 million SDR (US $76.5 million {source: IMO} The daily conversion rates for special drawing rights (SDRs) can be found on the International Monetary Fund.

It is the requirement of CLC-92 that ship-owners maintain a liability insurance to compensate pollution damages. In almost all cases Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Clubs act on owner's behalf as liability insurers. The contributions of Fund-92, on the other hand are paid by oil importing entities in the signatory states.

The annual contribution for the year 2006 was UK Pound-Sterling 0.0020156 per tonne of contributing oil (contribution levels fluctuate depending on the payment to be made by the Fund-92 against compensation claims). Although the contributions to Fund-92 are paid by oil importing entities, only States can be parties to this Convention.

FINANCING OF 1992 FUND The 1992 Fund is financed by contributions levied on any person who has received in one calendar year more than 150 000 tonnes of crude oil and heavy fuel oil (contributing oil) in a State Party to the 1992 Fund Convention.

BASIS OF CONTRIBUTIONS The levy of contributions is based on reports of oil receipts in respect of individual contributors. Member States are required to communicate every year to the 1992 Fund the name and address of any person in that State who is liable to contribute, as well as the quantity of contributing oil received by any such person. This applies whether the receiver of oil is a Government authority, a State-owned company or a private company.

Except in the case of associated persons (subsidiaries and commonly controlled entities) only persons having received more than 150,000 tonnes of contributing oil in the relevant year should be reported. Oil is counted for contribution purposes each time it is received at a port or terminal installation, in a member State after carriage by sea. The term received refers to receipt into tankage or storage immediately after carriage by sea.

The place of loading is irrelevant in this context; the oil may be imported, carried from another port in the same State or transported by ship from an off-shore production rig. Also oil received for transshipment to another port or received for further transport by pipeline is considered received for contribution purchases.

PAYMENT OF CONTRIBUTIONS Annual contributions are levied by the 1992 Fund to meet the anticipated payments of compensation and administrative expenses during the coming year. Each contributor pays a specified amount per tonne of contributing oil received. The amount levied is decided each year by the Assembly. The Director issues an invoice to each contributor, following the decision taken by the Assembly to levy annual contributions.

A system of deferred invoicing exists whereby the Assembly fixes the total amount to be levied in contributions for a given calendar year, but decides that only a specific lower total amount should be invoiced for payment by 1 March in the following year, the remaining amount, on a part thereof, to be invoiced later in the year if it should prove to be necessary.

The contributions are payable by the individual contributors directly to the 1992 Fund. A State is not responsible for the payment of contributions levied on contributors in that State, unless it has voluntarily accepted such responsibility.

LEVEL OF CONTRIBUTIONS Payments made by the 1992 Fund in respect of claims for compensation for oil pollution damage may vary considerably from year to year, resulting in fluctuating levels of contributions. The following table sets out the contributions levied by the 1992 Fund during the period 1996-2006. All claims are settled out of court promising prompt settlement. To conclude, the dilemma with our governing agencies/regulators is that of knowledge and experience and of course vision to protect our interests.

George Bernard Shaw said "Men are wise in proportion, not to their experience, but to their capacity for experience." The way forward is the Ministry of Ports and Shipping taking the lead, as a proposal is pending with them, by taking onboard NDMA, Ministry of Petroleum, so that oil importing entities, PSO, PARCO, NRL, BOSICOR etc may contribute to the fund. The per litre ex pump impact on retail price will be negligible with assurance of prompt payment in case of any oil spill.



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Dear Members
kindly note that submission of Nomination form has been extended till 9 May 2015, due to annual dinner event. Ensure that the Nomination form should reach MMSP office on or 9 May 2015.

Capt. Khawaja Wasiuddin Siddiqi Dupty Election Commissioner


To honour
Chief Patron of MMSP and Chief of Naval Staff Who has kindly consented to be the Chief Guest on this Occasion at Convention Hall, Pakistan Maritime Museum Near Karsaz, Karachi,
on Friday, the 24 April 2015

at 2000 hrs

All members and Mariners are requested to collect their cards from MMSP Secretariat.
Ph 32418784
cell 0333-3113265
or call Capt. Nusrat Iqbal (GS-MMSP) Cell: 0300-8245399
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If, we go into time Tunnel, the era from 2003-2007, efforts were made to convert Pakistan Marine Academy to Pakistan Maritime University, so that different faculties of Maritime education may be established locally.


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Monthly Meeting :


May 14, 2015

Executive Committee Meeting of Master Mariner Society of Pakistan will be held at 17.30 Hrs. at Room No 18, Old Ralli Brothers Building, Talpur Road, Karachi.

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