ABSTRACT

334At common law, the liability of shipowners for maritime pollution is dealt with by the torts of nuisance and negligence. However, in practice, negligence has proved an inadequate compensatory response to widespread pollution damage such as that which occurred in the aftermath of the Torrey Canyon disaster in 1967. Not only do persons who have suffered loss have to prove negligence on the part of the shipowner, they may also find that they receive inadequate compensation due to the shipowner’s ability to limit its liability. 1 Furthermore, the existing law of negligence does not allow claims for pure economic loss in such circumstances, nor are claims for environmental damage easily assimilated into its structure. Trespass and nuisance have also proved of limited value. 2