Compensation of the victims
After the Amoco Cadiz catastrophe, France immediately subscribed to the system of compensation set up by IMO (International Maritime Organisation) through the International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund (IOPC Fund). Claims for the damages caused by the Tanio’s pollution were likely to be addressed to the IOPC Fund after the ship insurer's (United Kingdom Protection & Indemnity Club) limitation fund had been used. The shipowner’s limit of responsibility was 11.83 million francs (1.8 million euros). Given to Brest court on April 1980 as a limitation fund, this sum was left to a liquidator who tried to yield a profit, waiting for an agreement on compensation demands to be met.
Over a hundred claims were issued for a total amount of 527 million Francs (80 million euros), of which 490 million francs (74 million euros) was from the French Government. The claimed sum exceeded the total available (money invested by the insurer and IOPC Fund limit). After payments made between 1983 and 1985, the IOPC Fund managed to reach amicable agreements with the claimants, for a total amount of 348 million francs (54 million euros), of which 327 million francs (50 million euros) was awarded to the French Government, interest included.
An appeal settled out of court
In parallel with the compensation negotiations, the French Government and the IOPC Fund instituted proceedings against the shipowners and other parties potentially responsible for the ship’s failure. The State wished to complete its compensation whereas the IOPC Fund wanted to recover at least a part of what it had paid. They jointly claimed 483 million francs.
On 15 December 1987, an out of court settlement passed between the different parties stopped the lawsuit. The shipowner and the Club, acting in the name of the whole defendants, signed with the French state and the IOPC Fund a balance agreement about the abandonment of any prosecution in return for the payment of 294 million francs (45 million euros), of which 107 million (16 million euros) was awarded to the IOPC Fund and 187 million (28.5 million euros) to the State. The IOPC Fund thus recovered nearly a third of what it paid to the victims while the State increased its compensation by a third. As far as we know, it was the first time a State had managed to increase its compensation above the IOPC Fund’s maximum limit.