Shipowners to Become Liable for Costs of Wreck Removal

MaritimeProfessional.com
Thursday, April 17, 2014
Wreck image courtesy of IMO

Shipowner liability is on the horizon as the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal Wrecks will enter into force on 14 April 2015 following the deposit, on 14 April 2014, of an instrument of ratification by Denmark, with the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Among several provisions, the Convention will place financial responsibility for the removal of certain hazardous wrecks on shipowners, making insurance, or some other form of financial security, compulsory.
Denmark became the 10th country to ratify the convention, thereby triggering its entry into force exactly 12 months later.

IMO explains that the Convention will fill a gap in the existing international legal framework by providing the first set of uniform international rules aimed at ensuring the prompt and effective removal of wrecks located beyond a country’s territorial sea. The Convention also contains a clause that enables States Parties to ‘opt in’ to apply certain provisions to their territory, including their territorial sea.

The Convention will fill a gap in the existing international legal framework by providing the first set of uniform international rules aimed at ensuring the prompt and effective removal of wrecks located beyond a country’s territorial sea. The Convention also contains a clause that enables States Parties to ‘opt in’ to apply certain provisions to their territory, including their territorial sea.

Articles in the Convention cover:

  • reporting and locating ships and wrecks - covering the reporting of casualties to the nearest coastal State; warnings to mariners and coastal States about the wreck; and action by the coastal State to locate the ship or wreck;
  • criteria for determining the hazard posed by wrecks, including depth of water above the wreck, proximity of shipping routes, traffic density and frequency, type of traffic and vulnerability of port facilities. Environmental criteria such as damage likely to result from the release into the marine environment of cargo or oil are also included;
  • measures to facilitate the removal of wrecks, including rights and obligations to remove hazardous ships and wrecks - which sets out when the shipowner is responsible for removing the wreck and when a State may intervene;
  • liability of the owner for the costs of locating, marking and removing ships and wrecks - the registered shipowner is required to maintain compulsory insurance or other financial security to cover liability under the convention; and settlement of disputes.

The Convention was adopted by a five-day International Conference at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (UNON), Kenya, in 2007.


 

 

 

 

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