Deputy High Commissioner of Canada to the UK, Sarah Fountain Smith, handed Canada’s instrument of ratification of the 2010 HNS Protocol to IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, at the IMO headquarters.

Abdurrahman Bilgiç, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the UK, deposited Turkey’s instrument of ratification during the opening of the 105th session of the IMO Legal Committee (23-25 April). IMO noted:

With 25.4 million tonnes of HNS contributing cargo reported, this ratification brings a significant proportion (over 60%) of the amount required to trigger the entry into force of the Convention.

Although eight States (Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey) signed the 2010 HNS Protocol, subject to ratification, only Norway, Canada and Turkey are the three States to have ratified the Protocol so far.

There has, however, been significant progress reported by a number of other States in recent months and it is hoped that a number of those States will ratify in the near future.

At the time of Norway's ratification on 21 April 2017, Secretary-General of IMO, Mr Kitack Lim, had encouraged other States to follow suit:

The HNS Convention 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. The number of ships carrying HNS cargoes is growing steadily with more than 200 million tonnes of chemicals traded annually by tankers and we have to recognize that accidents can and do happen. I urge all States to follow the example set by Norway and consider acceding to the HNS 2010 treaty as soon as possible, in order to bring it into force.

The Director of the IOPC Funds has been given the role of carrying out the tasks necessary to set up the International Hazardous and Noxious Substances Fund (HNS Fund) and making preparations for the first session of the HNS Assembly.

The 1992 Fund Secretariat undertakes a number of administrative tasks in cooperation with IMO in relation to the preparations for the entry into force of the Convention. It also remains available to support States in their efforts to prepare for ratification or accession to the HNS Convention and industry stakeholders on technical issues.


HNS Convention aims to ensure adequate, prompt and effective compensation for damage to persons and property, costs of clean up and reinstatement measures and economic losses resulting from the maritime transport of hazardous and noxious substances.

The following types of damage will be covered:

  • Loss of life or personal injury on board or outside the ship carrying the HNS
  • Loss of or damage to property outside the ship
  • Economic losses resulting from contamination, e.g. in the fishing, mariculture and tourism sectors
  • Costs of preventive measures, e.g. clean-up operations at sea and onshore
  • Costs of reasonable measures of reinstatement of the environment

How much compensation will be available?

  • Where damage is caused by HNS in bulk, the shipowner will normally be able to limit his financial liability to an amount between 10 million and 100 million Special Drawing Rights (SDR) of the International Monetary Fund (approximately USD15 million to USD150 million), depending on the gross tonnage of the ship.
  • Where damage is caused by packaged HNS, the maximum liability for the shipowner is 115 million SDR (approximately USD175 million).
  • The HNS Fund will provide an additional tier of compensation up to a maximum of 250 million SDR (approximately USD380 million), including any amount paid by the shipowner and his insurer.