Wreck-removal convention enters into force in April 2015

By Curious

International Maritime Organization (IMO) has announced that the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal Wrecks will enter into force on April 14, 2015. The convention was deposited on Monday after ratification by Denmark, the 10th country to ratify the convention and thereby triggering its entry into force a year later. The Convention was adopted in 2007 at the United Nations Office at Nairobi (Kenya) by a 5-day International Conference.

The International Convention will provide the first international rules that will ensure the prompt and effective removal of wreckage located beyond territorial sea of a country. It also features a clause enabling States Parties to "opt in" to apply some provisions to their territory (territorial sea included). The International Convention will provide a solid base for States to remove (or have removed) wrecks that may affect negatively the safety of lives, property and goods at sea, as well as the coastal and marine environment. Shipowners will be financially liable and will be required to have an insurance or any other financial security to be able to cover wreck-removal costs. The States will be provided with a right of taking actions against insurers directly. 

Main articles in the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal Wrecks cover:

  • locating and reporting vessels and shipwrecks. This includes reporting of any causality to the nearest coastal state and warning about the wreck. The coastal state should locate the vessel or the wreck;
  • implementation of criteria for defining the hazard posed by wrecks. This includes depth of the water above the shipwreck, shipping traffic – density, type and frequency, and environmental criteria;
  • facilitating the wreck-removal;
  • liability of the owner for the costs of locating, marking and removing vessels and shipwrecks.