U.K. Ship-Source Pollution Penalties Remain Valid

     LUXEMBOURG (CN) – The European Court of Justice ruled that it lacks jurisdiction to rule on a challenge to the United Kingdom’s system of imposing pollution penalties on shipping companies.

     At issue was the U.K.’s implementation of a European Parliament directive on ship-source pollution that fines companies for accidental discharges.
     Shipping companies claimed the directive did not comply with two international treaties: the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, called the Marpol Convention.
     Europe’s highest court ruled that the U.K. has signed the Law of the Sea, but not the Marpol Convention. The court also ruled that it could not determine the validity of the directive, because the Law of the Sea does not contain rules that apply directly to individuals.
     The ruling leaves the current system of pollution penalties in place.

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