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Oil spill response in port areas: governance and the polluter-pays principle
Carlan, V.; Heaver, T.; Sys, C.; Vanelslander, T. (2018). Oil spill response in port areas: governance and the polluter-pays principle. Int. J. Transp. Econ. 45(3): 367-391.
In: International Journal of Transport Economics. Istituti Editoriali e Poligrafici Internazionali: Pisa. ISSN 0391-8440; e-ISSN 1724-2185
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Oil spill response; port governance; environment protection strategy;cost allocation

Auteurs  Top 
  • Carlan, V.
  • Heaver, T.
  • Sys, C.
  • Vanelslander, T.

    Ports are confronted with different pollution sources such as waste, dust, noise, air pollutants and oil spills. Although the awareness among port users with regard to environmental protection has increased, environmental issues remain a public concern. The response to oil spills is the focus of this paper because it raises public and industry concerns about the effectiveness of response systems. The absence of a maritime economics perspective leaves a number of spill response aspects unaddressed. This paper identifies the economic implications of spill response regimes. The research focuses on the spill regime in eight ports in six countries : Antwerp, Hamburg, Rotterdam, Southampton, Vancouver (Canada), Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle. The research involves extensive library research and meetings with different stakeholders involved in oil spills response in/and around the ports. The examination of oil spill response practices in eight ports reveals substantial differences. These differences highlight the diverse governance structures, geographic situations and traffic composition of the ports. Firstly, it is noted that the functions of port authorities (PAs) in respect of spill response vary greatly. Secondly, there is an evident dichotomy between a port viewed as a corporate entity managing only designated port resources or as a body of water and terminals used by ships. And thirdly, traffic composition (together with the local geography) can be expected to affect spill response management. A high incidence of oil and chemical traffic can be expected to be linked with elevated protection against and, perhaps, experience with oil and chemical spills. The economics of spill response regimes is driven by the principle of "the polluter pays". However, the application of this principle to the costs of spill response plays out differently under different port governance regimes and under different strategies for allocating cost responsibility. The paper identifies these differences and makes recommendations for further research so that maritime economists can give greater attention to the consequences of governance regimes and the cost recovery methods in oil spill response.

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