States urged to ratify protocol for hazardous and noxious cargo

WORLD – The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is urging its member states to ratify and implement a key compensation treaty covering the transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by ships around the world.

The IMO is working together with the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) and the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF) to ensure this protocol is signed by at least 12 states for it to enter into force.

Dubbed the International Convention on Liability and compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious substances by Sea, 2010 (or 2010 HNS Convention for short), it provides a regime of liability and compensation for damage caused by HNS cargoes transported by sea.

It complements existing regimes already in force for the transport of oil as cargo, bunker oil used for the operation and propulsion of ships, the removal of hazardous wrecks and claims for death of or personal injury to passengers, or for damage to their luggage, on ships.

“The HNS Convention recognizes that accidents can and do happen and it is the last piece in the puzzle needed to ensure that those who have suffered damage caused by HNS cargoes carried on board ships have access to a comprehensive and international liability and compensation regime,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim.

“The number of ships carrying HNS cargoes is growing steadily with more than 200 million tonnes of chemicals traded annually by tankers. I urge all States to consider acceding to the HNS 2010 treaty as soon as possible, in order to bring it into force.” 

Each signatory state is required to meet certain criteria in relation to tonnage and report annually the quantity of HNS cargo received by the State.

No state has signed the 2010 HNS Convention to date. However, progress towards the Convention’s entry into force has gathered pace over the past year, with a number of states preparing the necessary implementing legislation.

Together with the IOPC Funds and ITOPF, IMO has produced a six-page brochure that explains to States the purpose and benefit of the HNS Convention and encourages IMO Member States to take the next steps to ratify or accede to the Convention.

The IMO believes that the 2010 HNS Convention can deliver the uniform and comprehensive regime needed to provide compensation for costs, including clean-up and restoring the environment, in the event of an incident involving HNS cargoes. Total compensation available under the Convention is capped at US$ 380 million.

IMO is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

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