What is the Bunker Convention, and how does it affect me?

The Bunker Convention was introduced in 2008 by 21 countries worldwide – the Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Jamaica, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Tonga and the United Kingdom. In any of these countries, it is the shipowner who is liable for pollution damage from a ship’s bunkers, and liability insurance is therefore a legal obligation. If you wish to visit a port in a state that is party to the Bunker Convention, you therefore need to apply for a Blue Card from your insurance company in advance.

What is the Blue Card for and how do I get one?

 The Bunker Convention Blue Card is issued by an insurer as proof that you have taken out insurance that will fully meet the liability claims set out in the Bunker Convention. This Blue Card states the name of the vessel, the vessel’s call sign, its port of registry and its IMO number, as well as the name and full address of the registered owner’s principal place of business. In addition to a Blue Card, vessels over 1000 GT will also need to have a Bunker Convention certificate issued by one of the states within the Bunker Convention as proof that such insurance is in place.

 

Do I need any additional insurance?

Under the Bunker Convention, all vessels are required to have War Risk insurance on standard terms, with a separate limit for P&I liabilities up to the limit of the value of the ship. You will therefore need to take out such cover before you can receive a Blue Card. If you already have War Risk cover in place, but this only covers the hull value of your vessel, you will also need to take out additional War Risk cover.

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