States urged to ratify HNS compensation package

Feb 12 2016

The IMO, together with the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) and the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), is urging member states to ratify and implement a compensation treaty covering the transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by ship.

The 2010 HNS Convention, when in force, will provide a regime of liability and compensation for damage caused by HNS cargoes, complementing existing regimes already in force for the transport of oil as cargo, bunker fuel and the removal of hazardous wrecks.

“The HNS Convention recognises 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 Ki-tack Lim. “The number of ships carrying HNS cargoes is growing steadily with more than 200 mill 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.”

Entry into force requires accession by at least 12 states, meeting certain criteria in relation to tonnage and reporting annually the quantity of HNS cargo received in a state. Thus far, there are no contracting states to the convention. 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 the purpose and benefit of the HNS Convention to states and encourages IMO members to take the next steps to ratify or accede to the convention.

It is the first in a series of tools to be developed in collaboration with IMO members, the purpose of which is to make ratification a priority and to assist government administrations in their internal promotion of the convention. It also highlights the potential risk to claimants if there is currently no liability and compensation regime in force.

IMO measures relating to the prevention of accidents that involve HNS cargoes are already in force, including ship design, operations and safety on board, as well as safety of loading and unloading operations. There is also a protocol covering preparedness and response to shipping accidents involving hazardous substances.

Total compensation available under the convention is capped at 250 mill Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of the International Monetary Fund (around USD $380 mill at current exchange rates) per event. Shipowners are held strictly liable up to a maximum limit of liability established by the convention for the cost of an HNS incident.

Registered owners of ships carrying HNS cargoes, have to maintain insurance that is state certified. The HNS Fund pays compensation once shipowner’s liability becomes exhausted and is financed through contributions paid after the incident by receivers of HNS cargoes.

The convention establishes the principle that the ‘polluter pays’ by ensuring that the shipping and HNS industries provide compensation for those who have suffered loss or damage resulting from an incident.  

Previous: Another tank cleaning fatality

Next: Major flag states show positive indicators

Jun-Jul 2024

Tanker Operator Athens report: managing crewing, training challenges, views on SIRE 2.0