If an oil spill accident from a tanker occurs at sea, the resulting damage would be colossal. Moreover, if the accident occurs near coastal area, local residents would have to face formidable damage and pain.
Therefore, the International community jointly responds to this issue under international conventions (Civil Liability Convention and Fund Convention) so that the victims of oil spill accidents may be compensated adequately. Meanwhile, the contracting states have made relevant conventions into the national laws respectively.
The principle of relevant conventions is to impose an obligation on the shipowner and the IOPC Fund so that they should made limitation funds to facilitate adequate compensation to the victims of oil spill accidents. Meanwhile, the victims can receive their compensation through an legal action in the court of the Contrating State. But the shipowner, the IOPC Fund and the government could have the right of subrogation against the right of claimant.
In the cases of oil spill accidents in the world, the government of contracting state trends to intervene in the compensation. However, according as the victims and government focus on the result of assessment from the IOPC Fund, the role of the court which possess the jurisdiction to action for compensation continue to diminish than the role of the IOPC Fund.
So, the majority of victims are mis-understanding as if the result of the assessment by the IOPC Fund is the result of the compensation. But the assessment by the IOPC Fund is nothing but a proposal for settlement with the claimants. The court of contracting state has only the right to make decision for the compensation.
Therefore, It should be recognize that the swift legal proceeding is essential for the rapid progress of the compensation. Furthermore, if the government needs to intervene in regard to compensation, it is the best way to exert the right of subrogation against the claimant's rights.