Club Circular 6b/08: Bunkers convention FAQ

  • Date: 01/09/2010

With reference to Club Circular 6/08 - Entry into force of the Bunkers Convention

Q&A on Bunkers Convention Certificates

Q. When will the Bunkers Convention (BC) become effective?
A. 21st November 2008.

Q. How many countries are parties to the BC?
A. As of September 2008, 25 countries are parties to the BC. They are: Bahamas, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Jamaica, Latvia, Liberia Lithuania, Hungary, Luxembourg, Marshall Islands, Norway, Poland, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Tonga and the United Kingdom, Vanuatu.

Q. Who is liable under BC for pollution damage?
A. Shipowner (including the registered owner, bareboat charterer, manager and operator).

Q. Which ships are required to have BC certificate of insurance (BC certificate)?
A. All ships over 1000 gt registered in a State party or entering or leaving a port in the territory of a State party

Q. What is the difference between a “BC blue card” and a “BC certificate”? 
A. A “BC blue card” is issued by an insurer evidencing that there is in place insurance meeting the liability requirements of the Bunkers Convention. A “BC certificate” is issued by a State party attesting that such insurance is in force. A ship over 1000 gt must have on board a “BC certificate” when flying the flag of a State party or trade to a State party. Without a “BC blue card”, States will not issue a “BC certificate”. 

Q. Who is required to obtain a BC certificate of insurance?
A. The registered owner of a ship.

Q. My ship flies the flag of a non BC country – do I have to obtain a BC certificate for her?
A. Yes, if she will call or may call at a port of a State party to the BC. 

Q. My ship is registered in a State Party, but she will not call at a port of a State Party, do we need to obtain a BC certificate?
A. Yes.

Q. How to apply for a BC certificate?
A. You will need a BC “blue card” from the Club which should be submitted to the relevant authority of the flag State, if a party to the BC or to another State party if the flag State is not a party to the BC. .

Q. Which States have agreed to issue certificates to ships not flying their flag?
A. United Kingdom, Liberia, Cyprus, or (if the owner is located or economically connected there) Germany. 
A number of other States have also indicated their willingness to issue certificates to such ships, we will advise the names of those States when we hear confirmation from them. Please visit this page again for updates. 

Q. Where do I find the contact details of the countries willing to give BC certificates?
A. See link to Bunkers convention country list.

Q. If BC/CLC certificates are both required, which one will be used in an oil spill? 
A. This refers to tankers. It is believed that the BC certificate will only be used in the extremely rare situation when the CLC does not apply, namely when the tanker is unladen and with no residue of persistent oil cargo on board. 

Q. Is my liability under BC covered?

A. Yes, subject to the Club’s Rules and your standard terms of entry. However please also see the Club’s circulars ref. 6/08 and ref. 9/08 for the need to maintain war risks P&I insurance, as claims arising from act of terrorism would be recoverable from war risks underwriters. 

Q. Why do I have to have the underlying War risks insurance? What is the required limit of that policy? 
A. The BC blue cards are given on the condition that the Members agree to maintain an underlying War risks insurance on standard terms, with a separate limit for P&I liabilities. The required limit for P&I liabilities under that policy is the proper value of the ship, deemed not exceeding US$100 million.

Q. When will a BC certificate be required?
A. From 21st November 2008. 
However it will take time for you to obtain a certificate from a State and arrange for it to be sent to the ship before 21st November 2008. It is therefore prudent that the application process with the relevant Administration be started 3 months in advance of the entry into force date of the BC.

Q. When should I approach the Club for a blue card?
A. A Blue Card Application Form has been emailed to Members or brokers with explanation. Members should complete the form and email it back to us as soon as possible.

Q. Who should we contact within the Club when we need a BC blue card?
A. Your usual underwriting contact. 

Q. Can you summarise the steps to follow for us to obtain a BC Blue Cards/BC Certificate? 
AFor ships registered in a State Party to the Convention, please follow the following steps:
(1) Complete the Blue Card Application Form;
(2) Return the completed form via email to
(3) When we have received completed application form from you, we will issue Blue Cards in electronic format for you to forward to your ships’ flag State authority that will in turn issue the Bunker Convention certificate. If the issuing authority does not accept an electronic Blue Card, a Blue Card in a hard copy format can be provided on request. The procedure for issuing certificates varies from State to State. You should contact your flag State authority for the procedure to apply for the State-issued certificates, 

A. For ships registered elsewhere, please follow the following steps:
(1) Complete the Blue Card Application Form;
(2) Return the completed form via email to

(3) We will prepare Blue Cards upon receipt of your completed application form, and your instructions on which State Party you want the blue card to be addressed to. To date, the UK, Liberia, and Cyprus have confirmed that they will issue certificates to ships not registered in State Parties. A number of other States have also indicated their willingness to issue certificates to such ships, we will advise the names of those States when we hear confirmation from them. Please visit this page again for updates. 

Q. Is the “Principal Place of Business of the Registered Owner” different from the registered office of the registered owner?
A. Legal advice received by the Clubs indicates that the registered office is appropriate as the principal place of business unless it is clear that the registered owner carries on business principally at a different location. In that event Members should advise the Club of the address to be inserted in the blue card – otherwise the registered address will be used. 

Last Updated - 15th September 2008

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