Ports welcome breakthrough on HNS Convention




Ports welcome breakthrough on HNS Convention


The International Association of Ports and Harbors welcomes the announcement made at the IMO Legal Committee earlier this week that Canada and Turkey ratified the 2010 IMO Convention on Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS). This represents a significant breakthrough in having a financial compensation and liability regime in place for damage caused by maritime accidents involving hazardous and noxious cargoes.


“The entry into force of the HNS Convention is very critical for ports”, explained Frans van Zoelen, IAPH Legal Counsellor and Chairman of the IAPH Legal Committee. “Ship incidents involving hazardous and noxious cargo will affect human health and safety and impact the environment, not to mention the economic losses they may cause, for instance due to interruption of port traffic. The relevance of the Convention is even higher if you consider that the number of ships carrying hazardous and noxious substances has grown considerably over the past fifteen years. This includes container ships carrying packaged HNS cargoes, chemical tankers, LPG tankers, tankers carrying LNG as well as ships fuelled by LNG. Furthermore, several of these ship types have increased tremendously in size.”

“Particular risks occur when a distressed or damaged ship carrying HNS cargo is seeking refuge in a port”, added Frans van Zoelen. “The entry into force of the HNS Convention will help port authorities to protect their interests in such cases. We are therefore pleased that a long overdue breakthrough was achieved this week and we encourage other IMO Member States to rapidly follow the leadership of Canada and Turkey.”

With Canada and Turkey acceding, the number of IMO Member States that have ratified the Convention is now at three, Norway being the first country that became a contracting state last year. To enter into force, twelve countries are needed, four of which should represent not less than two million units gross tonnage and the volume of contributing cargo must at least be 40 million tonnes. As soon as these criteria are met, the HNS Convention will come into force 18 months later. The present ratifying countries represent 28.7 million tonnes of contributing cargo, or nearly 72% of what is required.

Coinciding with the Legal Committee meeting held in London this week, the IMO organised a workshop on the HNS Convention. More information is available from the IMO website.