Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks

13 February 2015 / C15006

The Wreck Removal Convention enters into force on April 14, 2015. What you need to know?

NOTICE TO
SHIP OWNERS / MANAGERS / OPERATORS
FLAG ADMINISTRATIONS
DBS STATIONS / SURVEYORS

The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007, was adopted by an international conference held in Kenya in 2007. Denmark became the 10th country to ratify the Convention on April 14, 2014 thus; it will enter into force on April 14, 2015. The Convention provides the 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 environment.

The Wreck Removal Convention, 2007 intends to 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 the territorial sea. The Convention also includes an optional clause enabling States Parties to apply certain provisions to their territory, including their territorial sea.

Shipowners are financially liable and require taking out insurance or providing other financial security to cover the costs of wreck removal. It also provides States with a right of direct action against insurers.

What the Convention covers?

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.

Who ratified the Convention?

Until today the States that have ratified the Convention are: Antigua and Barbuda, Bulgaria, Congo, Cook Islands, Denmark, Germany, India, Iran, Liberia, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Morocco, Nigeria, Pelau and the United Kingdom.

Applicability

The Convention applies only to wrecks located in the State Parties’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). However a State Party may choose to extend the scope of the Convention to its own territory, including its territorial sea.

Ships of 300 GT or more which fly the flag of a State Party or use a port or offshore facility in the territory of a State Party will be required to have insurance or other financial security in place to meet the liabilities arising under the Convention.

Regulation   Ship Type / GT   Date of entry into force
Article 12 All ships* / 300 GT and above 14 April 2015
*Applicable to ships that fly a flag that is State Party to the Convention or use a port or offshore facility in the territory of a State Party to the Convention

Act Now

The registered owner of a ship of 300 gross tonnage and above and flying the flag of a State Party shall be required to maintain insurance or other financial security, such as a guarantee of a bank or similar institution, to cover liability under the Convention in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the applicable national or international limitation regime. A certificate attesting that insurance or other financial security is in force in accordance with the provisions of the Convention shall be issued to each ship of 300 gross tonnage and above by the appropriate authority of the State of the ship’s registry. This certificate must be on board the ship.

It is important to note that registered owners of a ship of 300 gross tonnage and above that does not fly a flag of a State Party but use a port or offshore facility in the territory of a State Party still require to maintain insurance or other financial security to cover liability under the Convention. A certificate attesting that insurance or other financial security is in force in accordance with the provisions of the Convention shall be issued to each ship of 300 gross tonnage and above by any State Party. This certificate must be on board the ship.

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