Swire wants meeting over Aussie oil spill
Swire Shipping, whose ship Pacific Adventurer spilled fuel oil along tourist beaches north of Brisbane, Australia, in March after being caught in Cyclone Hamish, said it rejects “assertions that it is not prepared to meet its responsibilities.”
“The company is in discussions with the state and federal transport ministers and has written to Premier Anna Bligh saying that it wishes to achieve a mutually acceptable solution in line with its commitment to the people of Queensland. It has requested an opportunity to meet her to discuss the matter. So far this meeting has not been arranged,” Swire said in a statement.
Reuters quoted Bligh as estimating the cost of the cleanup at $27 million, when international maritime conventions refer to a cap on cleanup payments of $17 million.
Swire’s statement said that, “from the beginning, the company has always promised to meet its full responsibilities under Australian law for the accident clean-up. The company has not stated it would cover all costs. All costs are still unknown and there is a limit to the amount of claims the company and its insurers can accept.”
It said Australia is a party to the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims (LLMC), which limits the liability of a ship owner for third party claims, and said, “any decision by Swire Shipping to offer compensation that is significantly above the limit determined by the LLMC Convention would risk becoming a precedent in international law. As a result, insurance premiums and freight rates could rise significantly.”
Last month Swire said it would end its Eastabout Round the World service and not proceed with a previously announced Europe Pacific Service, citing the ongoing global financial crisis.