Compensation funds as a mechanism for compensating the affected by pollution of the marine environment
– The marine pollution is considered one of the main risks that threaten the environment. This is because of the industrial, economic and investment progress and development which led to increase of sources of pollution of the marine environment. As a result thereof, many systems, laws and conventions have been established to contribute to limitation of this pollution and combating its damages.
Accordingly, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in 1982 has been established to identify the marine pollution in the fourth paragraph of item 1 the first article as follows:
“means the introduction by man, directly or indirectly, of substances or energy into the marine environment, which results in such deleterious effects as harm to living resources and marine life, hazards to human health, hindrance to marine activities, including fishing and other legitimate uses of the sea, or impairment of quality for use of sea water and reduction of amenities.
– The Qatari legislator identified also the environment pollution in particular in the first article /12 of the Qatari Environmental Protection Law No. 30 of 2002 as follows:
“Environment Pollution: Any changes occurring in environment characteristics, which lead directly or indirectly to harming the live creatures or installations or affecting the human natural daily life.”
– Thereon, after tackling definition of the marine environment pollution, we will tackle one of the mechanisms for compensating for the damages resulting from the marine environment pollution which is represented in the compensation funds.
– Compensation funds are considered complementary to the responsibility rules and not as a substitute of them as they are distinguished by alternative capacity for its intervention if the civil and insurance liability system fails to compensate the damaged party fairly. As for method of their financing, they are financed from subscription fees obtained from the installations which cause a special kind of pollution or practice an activity in certain area causing environment pollution and the financing is also done by the state itself.
– At the international level, the international community declared presence of group mechanisms for compensation for the pollution damages caused by the ships in relation to leakage of oil and petroleum pollution as mentioned in International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage (FUND). As this agreement aims to use collection of this fund in covering the costs related to cleaning and removal of the petroleum pollution effects and compensation for its damages.
– This fund is also financed by the financial contributions from the bodies which use the marine transportation and the companies which belong to the Member States that transport shipments with impacts of pollutants generated by shipping across the sea.
– Moreover, the compensation fund which is deemed a mechanism for compensating the affected by the marine environment pollution is based on solidarity idea which is group distribution of the risks among the formed group that caused the pollution. Further, the solidarity idea is not required in the financial liability which means that the rules regulating the compensation fund focus first on the risks formed by the activity causing pollution to the marine environment.
– In relation to importance of these funds, they have significant importance in terms of avoiding the slow litigation in the judicial systems so that the affected has no fear from risks of insolvency of the responsible party for the marine environment pollution. As these funds don’t guarantee compensating the affected by the damages caused to them and their properties but they aim to repair the damages which prejudice to the public interests and global environment resources. The most important characteristic of the compensation funds is that they allow compensating the environmental damages which don’t accept the insurance regarding them such as the environmental damages which need huge amounts for repairing the damages resulting from this pollution.