TANKER operators are lobbying for the passage of a bill that will repeal Republic Act 9483 or the Oil Pollution Compensation Act.
The Philippine Petroleum Sea Transport Association (Philpesta) said the bill entitled "An Act to Prevent and Control Pollution from Ships and its Penalties" consolidates several marine pollution (Marpol) measures pending before the House of Representatives and will streamline – and thus lower – funds needed to prevent maritime pollution, the requirements of which are considerably higher under RA 9483.
Philpesta executive director Ernesto Paguyo told PortCalls the bill has hurdled hearings conducted by the Lower House Committee on Ecology. The committee report has also been calendared for approval in plenary.
"The act will effectively repeal the Oil Price Management Fund provided under RA 9483 which will somehow reduce the tankers' financial requirements for Marpol," Pagayo said.
The implementing guidelines of RA 9483 have been pending before the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) since 2007 due to such issues as the establishment of the floor and ceiling amount to be collected from tanker operators to form part of the pollution fund, and the length of time the collection will be made.
Marina administrator Ma. Elena Bautista said her agency is not rushing guidelines to prevent a legal tussle between operators and regulators.
RA 9483, which seeks to implement the 1992 Civil Liability Convention and the 1992 International Oil Pollution Fund Convention, requires tanker operators to contribute 10 centavos of their freight rate to the oil pollution fund for every liter for every delivery. It also obligates oil firms to contribute to the fund once 150,000 tons of oil are delivered to them, which according to operators, is simply a pass-on cost that will be shouldered by the public.