Congressional Hearing on “Liability and Financial Responsibility for Oil Spills under OPA 90 and Related Statutes”

Published: 14 June 2010

Dear Skuld Member,

On Wednesday 9 June 2010 the US House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held hearings on “Liability and Financial Responsibility for Oil Spills under OPA 90 and Related Statutes.”  The hearings focused in particular on a proposal by the Obama Administration to eliminate any cap on liability for oil spill removal costs for both vessels and offshore facilities and to strike out OPA 90’s existing vessel type and tonnage based limitation system and replace it with an unquantified damages limit.  Such a proposal, if enacted into law, would threaten the availability of insurance cover for pollution liabilities and would bring an end to the current system of vessel certification of financial responsibility which has worked so successfully for the past twenty years.

Because of the extremely serious implications of the current legislative proposals for the shipping industry, the International Group of P&I Clubs was invited to give testimony at the hearings and I am very pleased to say that Charles Anderson, head of Skuld’s New York office, was chosen to represent the Group at the hearings.  Charles’ testimony focused on the key risk and exposure differences between the offshore production industry and shipping operations, the effectiveness of OPA 90 and the importance of the current COFR system, and on the issues of insurability and reinsurance capacity.

Charles provided a very clear and forceful explanation of these issues, and I believe that his testimony, together with the current work being done by Jonathan Hare as Skuld’s International Group counsel, demonstrates the increasingly important role that Skuld is now playing as a leader in addressing issues of vital concern to the Group and to the marine insurance industry as a whole.

Best regards
Assuranceforeningen Skuld (Gjensidig)

Douglas Jacobsohn
President & CEO