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Most American maritime and environmental attorneys and vessel owners are familiar with OPA 90 and oil spill liability in the United States. But what happens when a vessel spills oil in the territorial waters of another country? As of June 2023, 146 countries have ratified or adopted the International Maritime Organization’s (“IMO”) International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992 (the “CLC”). The CLC addresses civil liability for maritime oil spills. Notably, the United States is a member of the IMO, but it has not ratified the CLC. While there are many similarities between the CLC and OPA 90, there are also some significant differences, including when the act applies, what the limitations on liability are, how you can break limitations, and how you can lose your defenses to exoneration or limitation. One of the most glaring examples of the differences is the different limitations of liability for different sizes of vessels.

Read the full post by Liskow attorneys Jessie Shifalo, Emily von Qualen, and Clare Bienvenu on The Energy Law Blog here.

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