What Is a Bunker Convention?

In maritime shipping, you may have come across the term, “bunker convention”. It may seem like an odd term to be associated with shipping. It actually refers to a very important set of laws that aids shipping companies if one of their vessels accidentally spills bunker oil into the sea.

The Convention

The International on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, or Bunker Convention for short, was put into effect in November 2008. Its purpose is to make sure that any parties that suffer damage due to ship spillage of bunker oil receive prompt, sufficient compensation to cover losses and clean-up. Every vessel that carries oil on the world’s oceans must have a bunker convention certificate, also known as a blue card. The certificate is issued by the nation whose flag the ship sails under.

The blue card must be carried on the vessel at all times and produced if asked for by international authorities. The certificate is an official notification that the ship and its company are insured or have the financial security to compensate any victims of bunker oil spill due to any kind of accident. 

Oil spills have occurred too many times on global oceans. The clean-up and repair of damage are expensive. A bunker convention certificate makes sure that shipping companies are adequately covered to properly pay all losses and damages of oil spill victims. 

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