OIL SPILLS IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT

The largest and perhaps the most controllable source of oil pollution is from marine transportation activities. Intentional discharges from cleaning and deballasting operations comprise the largest component of these activites. Regulations have been promulgated under the PWSA requiring segregated ballast capacility for all new U.S.-flag ships larger than 70,000 dwt, and for new foreign vessels larger than 70,000 dwt that enter U.S. ports. There is considerable opposition, however, to proposed regulations extending these requirements to existing vessels. Furthermore, only two international conventions regarding preventative measures for tanker accidents are in effect, although amendments to one of these conventions are in force. Once a spill occurs, provisions exist under domestic Federal legislation (FWPCA) to clean up the spill within twelve miles from shore, and under an international convention (Intervention on the High Seas) to clean up the spill beyond the contiguous zone. Strict liability provisions exist for clean-up, but not for damages under Federal law -- except for certain pipeline, deepwater port, and OCS activities. Two international conventions providing compensation for damages have not been ratified by the U.S., although implementing legislation has been proposed over the past few years. If and when the U.S. does ratify these conventions, compensation would only be provided when damage is incurred within three miles from shore.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Library of Congress

    Congressional Research Service
    Washington, DC  USA  20540
  • Authors:
    • Reisch, M
    • Mielke, J E
  • Publication Date: 1977-5

Media Info

  • Pagination: 17 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00158439
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Library of Congress
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Issue Brief #IB77014
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 31 1977 12:00AM