Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Bunkers Convention?
  2. What is bunker oil?
  3. Which ships are required to have a certificate of insurance (Bunkers Convention Certificate)?
  4. What type of vessels does the Convention apply to?
  5. Who is liable under the Bunkers Convention for pollution damage?
  6. What is a Bunkers Convention Certificate?
  7. What is an acceptable form of security?
  8. What is a P&I Club and a "Blue Card"?
  9. I am not insured by a P&I Club and receive coverage from an independent broker from whom I cannot receive a Blue Card.
    How do I provide the necessary evidence/proof of insurance or security to apply for a certificate?
  10. Do oil tankers that currently carry 1992 Civil Liability Convention (CLC) Certificates need to apply for a Bunkers Certificate?
  11. Can I apply for both CLC and Bunkers Certificates at the same time?
  12. I am currently registered in a State that is not party to the Bunkers Convention and I want to trade in Canada.
    Can I apply for a Canadian certificate?
  13. I currently operate a foreign flagged vessel and have a certificate from another State that is a party to the Bunkers Convention.
    Do I need a Canadian certificate to do business in Canada?
  14. I currently operate a Canadian flagged vessel and have a certificate from another State that is party to the Bunkers Convention.
    Do I need a Canadian certificate to do business in Canada?
  15. Under the Bunkers Convention, how much insurance coverage do I need
  16. What are SDRs?
  17. How is a ship's tonnage calculated?
  18. How do I get a certificate?
  19. Who can apply for a certificate?
  20. Is there a fee to apply?
  21. Can these certificates be revoked?
  22. What happens when I don't have a certificate?
  23. How long will the application process take?
  24. A certificate is valid for how long?


  1. What is the Bunkers Convention?

    The International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001, was adopted by the International Maritime Organization and subsequently ratified by Canada, to ensure that adequate, prompt and effective compensation is available to persons who suffer damage caused by spills of oil when carried as fuel in ships' bunkers. On January 2, 2010, it has force of law in Canada.

    The Convention requires ships over 1,000 gross tonnage (GT) to maintain insurance or other financial security, such as the guarantee of a bank or similar financial institution, to cover the liability of the registered owner for pollution damage in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the Marine Liability Act.

  2. What is bunker oil?

    While "bunker" oil is generally known to be a heavy residual oil used by ships, it has a legal definition in the Convention that is broader. As per Article 1, paragraph 5 of the Convention, "bunker oil" is defined as "any hydrocarbon mineral oil, including lubricating oil, used or intended to be used for the operation or propulsion of the ship, and any residues such as oil." (Emphasis added)

  3. Which ships are required to have a certificate of insurance (Bunkers Convention Certificate)?

    All ships over 1,000 GT registered in a State party or entering or leaving a port or terminal in the territory of a State party are required to have a Bunkers Convention Certificate.

  4. What type of vessels does the Convention apply to?

    As per Article 1, paragraph 1 of the Convention, "ship" is defined as any seagoing vessel and seaborne craft, of any type whatsoever. This includes Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) vessels, Floating Storage Units (FSU) and Floating Production Units (FPU). It also includes any vessel that carries bunker oil for the operation of generators or other equipment onboard.

  5. Who is liable under the Bunkers Convention for pollution damage?

    The shipowner (including the registered owner, bareboat charterer, manager and operator) is liable under the Convention.

  6. What is a Bunkers Convention Certificate?

    A Bunkers Convention Certificate is issued by a State party certifying that insurance is in force. A ship over 1,000 GT must have on board a Bunkers Convention Certificate when flying the flag of a State party or trading to a State party. Without evidence/proof of insurance, States will not issue a Bunkers Convention Certificate.

  7. What is an acceptable form of security?

    Security can be in the form of insurance policy or contract, a bank guarantee, letter of credit, etc. Most ships are insured with a Protection and Indemnity (P&I) Club, which issues a "Blue Card".

  8. What is a P&I Club and a "Blue Card"?

    A P&I Club is a protection and indemnity association of shipowners or operators, offering mutual insurance, generally for third-party liability risks and the defense of claims. There are 13 Clubs that are a member of the International Group of P&I Clubs, which insure the majority of the world's tonnage. A "Blue Card" is issued by the P&I Club to provide evidence that there is in place insurance meeting the liability requirements of the Bunkers Convention.

  9. I am not insured by a P&I Club and receive coverage from an independent broker from whom I cannot receive a Blue Card. How do I provide the necessary evidence/proof of insurance or security to apply for a certificate?

    Your insurer should provide evidence that insurance or other financial guarantee is in place in accordance with Article 7 of the Bunkers Convention. This evidence should also contain the following information:

    • Name of Ship
    • Distinctive Number or Letters
    • IMO Number (for Bunker Convention Certificates only)
    • Flag and Port of Registry
    • Gross Tonnage
    • Name and Address of Owner
    • Name and Address of Insurer
    • Type of Security
    • Duration of Security

  10. Do oil tankers that currently carry 1992 Civil Liability Convention (CLC) Certificates need to apply for a Bunkers Certificate?

    Yes. Tanker owners will also need to ensure that they have insurance coverage and a Bunkers Convention Certificate for the bunker fuel carried onboard. The CLC has similar aims as the Bunkers Convention, but sets out rules for oil tankers to ensure they have insurance coverage for liabilities arising from the carriage of oil as cargo.

  11. Can I apply for both CLC and Bunkers Certificates at the same time?

    Yes. The application form allows you to apply for both CLC and Bunkers certificates.

  12. I am currently registered in a State that is not party to the Bunkers Convention and I want to trade in Canada. Can I apply for a Canadian certificate?

    Yes, you may apply for a Canadian Bunkers Convention Certificate. Under the Marine Liability Act, vessels over 1,000 gross tonnage using oil as fuel and trading in Canada require a Bunkers Convention Certificate. Internationally, all State parties apply this approach.

  13. I currently operate a foreign flagged vessel and have a certificate from another State that is a party to the Bunkers Convention. Do I need a Canadian certificate?

    No.

  14. I currently operate a Canadian flagged vessel and have a certificate from another State that is party to the Bunkers Convention. Do I need a Canadian certificate?

    Yes, all Canadian flagged vessels that meet the Convention's criteria must apply for a Canadian Bunkers Convention Certificate and carry it on board the ship.

  15. Under the Bunkers Convention, how much insurance coverage do I need

    The amount required is based on another International Maritime Organization Convention, the Protocol of 1996 to the International Convention on the Limitation of Liability for Marine Claims, 1976.

    Under Article 6(1)(b) of that Convention, the limit of liability is:

     

      Tonnage SDR
    Tonnage not exceeding 2,000 1,510,000 in full
    AND for each ton from 2,000-30,000 604 per ton
    AND for each ton from 30,000-70,000 453 per ton
    AND for each ton above 70,000 302 per ton

    Note: The amounts in the table above are in Special Drawing Right (SDRs) and not in Canadian dollars.

  16. What are SDRs?

    The Special Drawing Right is an international reserve asset, created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1969, to supplement its member countries' official reserves. Its value is based on a basket of four key international currencies and SDRs can be exchanged for freely usable currencies. It is a common unit used in international conventions. For more information on the Special Drawing Right, please visit the website of the IMF.

  17. How is a ship's tonnage calculated?

    A ship's gross tonnage shall be calculated in accordance with the tonnage measurements rules contained in Annex I of the International Convention on Tonnage Measurement of Ships, 1969.

  18. How do I get a certificate?

    To apply, a form is available on this website under "Application Process". The information needs to be typed into the form. Once completed, please print and fax the form, along with proof on insurance, to the following number: 613-949-4224.

    Alternatively, if you have a document scanner, scanned images of the application form and the supporting documents may be emailed to: mi-am@tc.gc.ca.

  19. Who can apply for a certificate?

    The shipowner, including the registered owner, bareboat charterer, manager, and operator of the ship may apply for the certificate.

  20. Is there a fee to apply?

    No. The service is provided without cost to the industry.

  21. Can these certificates be revoked?

    Yes. A certificate can be revoked in accordance with section 74, subsection 5 of the Marine Liability Act (Ch.21, 2009).

  22. What happens when I don't have a certificate?

    In accordance with Section 73 of the Marine Liability Act (Ch. 21, 2009), any ship over 1,000 GT cannot enter or leave a port or arrive at or leave an offshore terminal in Canadian waters or in Canada's Exclusive Economic Zone without a Bunkers Convention Certificate. Any ship deemed not to be in compliance with this requirement would be subject to enforcement action and offences as set out in that Act.

  23. How long will the application process take?

    As this is a new program at Transport Canada, service standards are currently being developed. For planning needs, it is estimated that two weeks may be required to review an application and issue a certificate. This time will depend on completeness and accuracy of information provided and demand for certificates.

  24. A certificate is valid for how long?

    The certificate will state the duration of its validity but, in any case, it will not be valid for more than twelve calendar months.



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