Wreck-Removal Convention to Enter into Force

Posted by Eric Haun
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Photo courtesy IMO

Shipowner liability on the horizon as Denmark ratifies international instrument

The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal Wrecks will enter into force on April 14, 2015 following the deposit, on April 14, 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.

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 provide a sound legal basis for States to remove, or have removed, shipwrecks that may have the potential to affect adversely the safety of lives, goods and property at sea, as well as the marine and coastal environment. It will make shipowners financially liable and require them to take out insurance or provide other financial security to cover the costs of wreck removal. It will also provide States with a right of direct action against insurers.

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.


Although the incidence of marine casualties has decreased in recent years, mainly thanks to the work of IMO and the persistent efforts of Governments and industry to enhance safety in shipping operations, the number of abandoned wrecks has reportedly increased and, as a result, the problems they cause to coastal States and shipping in general have become more acute.

There are a number of problems: first, and depending on its location, a wreck may constitute a hazard to navigation, potentially endangering other vessels and their crews; second, and of equal concern, depending on the nature of the cargo, is the potential for a wreck to cause substantial damage to the marine and coastal environments; third, in an age where goods and services are becoming increasingly expensive, is the issue of the costs involved in the marking and removal of hazardous wrecks; and fourth, most of the dangerous wrecks lie in shallow coastal waters, within the territorial sea, where coastal States have unrestricted rights to remove them, without engagement of the shipowner. The convention attempts to resolve all of these and other, related, issues.

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

imo.org
 

Maritime Reporter May 2015 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Environmental

Shell CEO Backs Fossil Fuels, Climate Change Warnings

The world's fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions, Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said on Friday.

Severe Flooding Cuts Off Lone Road to Alaska's Oilfield

Alaska's lone road to North Slope oil field operations remains closed for the third time in two months while emergency crews continue to redirect flooding from an adjacent river,

Pipeline Spill Could Hamper California Oil Projects

Hundreds of barrels of oil that gushed from a ruptured coastal pipeline in scenic California this week could stiffen opposition to large oil projects that companies want to build in the state,

News

Shell CEO Backs Fossil Fuels, Climate Change Warnings

The world's fossil fuel reserves cannot be burned unless some way is found to capture their carbon emissions, Royal Dutch Shell Plc Chief Executive Officer Ben van Beurden said on Friday.

Severe Flooding Cuts Off Lone Road to Alaska's Oilfield

Alaska's lone road to North Slope oil field operations remains closed for the third time in two months while emergency crews continue to redirect flooding from an adjacent river,

Pipeline Spill Could Hamper California Oil Projects

Hundreds of barrels of oil that gushed from a ruptured coastal pipeline in scenic California this week could stiffen opposition to large oil projects that companies want to build in the state,

Maritime Safety

2 Americans Rescued North of Cuba

A Coast Guard MH-60 helicopter crew rescued two American sailors whose vessel ran aground approximately 25 miles north of Gibara, Cuba, Friday. Watchstanders

Seaway to Receive Prestigious OECD Award

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced today that it will receive a prestigious award from the Organization for Economic Cooperation

Russian, Azerbaijani Navy to Hold First Ever Joint Drills in Caspian Sea

About 10 Russian and Azerbaijani ships will take part in a joint naval exercise in the Caspian Sea for the first time; RIA Novosti cited the statement of Russia’s Southern Military District.

Subsea Salvage

PSC, BP Claims Against Transocean Resolved

Transocean Ltd. announced that it has reached two separate settlement agreements, with the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (the "PSC") and with BP Exploration & Production Inc.

Barge Accident off Malaysia: 14 Lost

The Bolivian-registered Ocean Line 208 vessel, which was carrying sand, was hit by a huge wave at 4.20am today early morning and 14 people are feared to have drowned.

 
 
Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Pipelines Port Authority Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2480 sec (4 req/sec)