Following a meeting of its Insurance Committee today, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), which represents over 80 percent of the world merchant fleet, has reiterated its firm opposition to proposals from the International Salvage Union (ISU) for a new separate award for ‘environmental salvage’, in cases where salvors have carried out operations in respect of a ship or cargo which has presented a threat of damage to the environment.

The topic will be considered by the Comité Maritime International (CMI), the international association for maritime lawyers, which is holding its conference in Beijing next week, at which ICS will be represented.

“ICS remains deeply sceptical about the proposal for a separate environmental salvage award, especially as salvage services are already generously rewarded under the present system.” said the ICS Insurance Committee Chairman, Matheos Los.

ISU maintains that its proposal will allow for a “merit” based award for salvors’ services to avoid or minimise damage to the environment which, they say, the present system with a tariff based-system of financial reward, does not provide.

However, ICS contends that the IMO Salvage Convention already provides for a system that allows for recognition of environmental benefit and which provides for a generous financial reward to salvors.