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Oil Spill Insurance May Be Extended

Compulsory insurance provisions currently applying to oil tankers may be extended to include all ships, says Transport Minister Mark Gosche.

“At present, only oil tankers are required to have such insurance but the recent grounding of the Jody F Millenium off Gisborne’s coastline demonstrates that pollution risks are not confined to tankers.”

While there have been some calls for new legislation, existing regulations could be used to ensure all ships in New Zealand waters have compulsory oil spill insurance, Mr Gosche said.

“The Maritime Transport Act already includes provision for making regulations to extend the compulsory insurance regime to include ships other than oil tankers. I have instructed Ministry of Transport officials to look into the requirements for doing that.

“The Jody F Millenium is fully insured for all risks, as is most of the world’s merchant shipping fleet, however that does not mean that every ship entering our ports is adequately insured. This is a risk we do not need to take, and one that can be addressed by extending the compulsory insurance regime to include ships other than oil tankers.

“The recent grounding highlights the sort of costs the community and government can face if an uninsured vessel causes pollution to New Zealand coastlines.

“I have instructed Ministry of Transport officials to report to me as soon as possible on the kinds of ships that ought to be covered by these regulations.

“I want to ensure all ships that enter New Zealand ports can pay for any oil pollution damage that they cause.”

Ends

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