Tracing Vessel Ownership – the Erika Case

In the case of an accident and especially when an environmental disaster has occurred as a result of the accident, the multitude of parties involved as well as the “impossibility” of tracing ownership of the vessel, usually when she is registered in a Flag of Convenience (FOC), makes it really difficult to conclude who was responsible for the accident or to assign share of the responsibility to the stakeholders involved. The case of the Erika, a tanker which sank off the coast of France in 1999, illustrates many of the above mentioned  concerns. On December 8, 1999 the Erika, a 37,000 ton tanker flying the Maltese flag and chartered by the oil company Total SA, formerly Total Fina Elf (and Total Fina at the time of the spill), left Dunkirk and sailed through the English Channel en route to the port of Livorno in Italy.

2013.10.01 - Tracing Vessel Ownership, the Erika Case

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