Commentary: Rule 33 Membership of ITOPF

33.1 General

On 20 February 1997, the Tanker Owner Voluntary Agreement concerning Liability for Oil Pollution, TOVALOP was terminated. At the same time the other voluntary compensation agreement, CRISTAL, ended. From now on, those who suffer oil spill damage resulting from a tanker accident must rely on the provisions of the relevant international compensation conventions. In May 1996 the 1992 CLC Convention entered into force, introducing considerably higher limitations than those under the 1969 CLC.

ITOPF was originally established to administer TOVALOP. For more than 25 years ITOPF developed a broad range of expertise and technical services in dealing with oil pollution around the world. When TOVALOP was terminated it was important to preserve this technical expertise and it was decided that ITOPF should continue to serve the industry as an independent organisation. This means that shipowners and their P&I Clubs continue to benefit greatly from ITOPF’s services.

33.2 Tankers and non-tankers

All tanker Members of the Club are automatically members of ITOPF. The Club even pays the entry fees.

As a result of an increased number of oil spills from non-tankers (mainly bunker spills), ITOPF decided to include non-tanker operators as associate members. The Club pays the fees for non-tankers to be associate members and they, therefore, also have full access to ITOPF’s spill response services.