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April 8, 2021

Vietnam Updates Regulations on Oil Spill Response

On March 24, 2021, the Prime Minister of Vietnam issued Decision No. 12/2021/QD-TTg issuing regulations on oil spill response (Decision 12). Decision 12 will take effect on May 10, 2021, replacing Decision No. 02/2013/QD-TTG as amended by Decision No. 63/2014/QD-TTg (together, Decision 02).

Broadly speaking, the changes introduced by Decision 12 are minor, and serve mainly to update aspects of Decision 02. One of the more notable changes is the introduction of templates for oil spill response plans (OSR plans) which are provided under Decision 12 to support localities to formulate and prepare their own OSR plans, which must then be approved by the relevant authorities.

Another notable change is the introduction of the timeline for evaluation and approval of OSR plans at all levels. Accordingly, such timelines are elaborated as follows:

  • For OSR plans requiring approval from the National Committee for Natural Disaster Response and Search and Rescue (VINASARCOM): Within 30 working days from the date of receipt of complete and valid dossier.
  • For OSR plans requiring approval from the provincial People’s Committee: Within 20 working days from the date of receipt of a complete and valid dossier.
  • For OSR plans requiring approval from the district-level People’s Committee: Within 15 working days from the date of receipt of a complete and valid dossier.

Another change is related to financial security for payment of compensation for loss and damage caused by oil spills. Accordingly, Decision 12 requires the owners of Vietnamese and foreign seagoing vessels carrying more than 2,000 tons of raw material to have a certificate of insurance or a financial guarantee as security to discharge their civil legal liability to pay compensation for loss and damage caused by oil spills in accordance with provisions under the 1992 CLC Convention.

Decision 12 also requires owners of Vietnamese seagoing vessels with a total tonnage of more than 1,000 GT operating on international routes to have a certificate of insurance or have a financial guarantee as security to discharge their civil legal liability to pay compensation for loss and damage caused by oil spills in accordance with the provisions of the 2001 Bunker Convention. Further, it is worth noting that the requirement to establish a compensation fund or trust fund, which was imposed on the owner of the ship or the owner of the establishment which caused the oil spill and its insurer under Decision 02, have been removed by Decision 12.

For more information on Decision 12, please contact us at [email protected].

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