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07 July 2014
The Law on Spills in Mexican Maritime Zones will come into force on July 16 2014 – 180 days after its publication in the Federal Official Gazette. The law seeks to control and prevent pollution or alteration of the sea caused by spillages deposited in Mexican maritime zones, according to the zones governed under the Federal Sea Law.
The law further identifies certain events and conduct that will be regarded as 'spills or dumping'. These will either be authorised or penalised under the law, as the case may be.
Specifically, the law will determine the events that will be regarded as spills or dumping in relation to ships (vessels), aircraft, platforms and other constructions or buildings. The following events will be penalised if they are carried out without a permit issued by the Maritime Ministry (which is also authorised to apply and interpret the Convention on the Prevention of Maritime Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972):
The law also states that in order to be granted a spill or dumping permit, the applicant must provide certain information, including:
While permits will partly be granted based on a feasibility analysis, it must be proved that the spill or dumping is the best alternative available for disposal of the particular material or waste. The applicant must have evidence that it has exhausted the following options for the integral management of the waste:
Permits will be issued for a specific term with no possibility of extension, except in the case of force majeure or a technical or financial situation. In order to obtain an extension, the relevant party must prove that such an event has taken place.
Permit holders are not authorised to transfer permits or allow their use by third parties. In addition, holders must fulfil certain obligations. Moreover, they must suspend dumping activities in the event of weather that could cause environmental damage due to its intensity or magnitude, or whenever spills or dumping could affect ecosystems or cause environmental damage.
The penalties provided under the Maritime Spills Law are:
Finally, spills or dumping performed in violation of applicable laws – including the Maritime Spills Law – and the terms and conditions of relevant permits attract the obligation to repair the environmental damage in terms of the Federal Environmental Liability Law, without prejudice to any administrative, criminal or civil liabilities that apply.
If spills have been caused due to force majeure events, administrative liability will not be triggered; however, the responsible party will still be obliged to repair, compensate or restore damages caused by the spill.
For further information on this topic please contact Juan Francisco Torres Landa, Jorge Yanez, Brenda Rogel Salgado or Jeanett Trad at Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa SC by telephone (+52 55 5091 0157), fax (+52 55 5091 0123) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The Barrera, Siqueiros y Torres Landa website can be accessed at www.bstl.com.mx.
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