Denmark became in early July the fourth country to ratify the 2010 International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (HNS Convention), after Norway, Canada and Turkey.

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

The Convention will enter into force 18 months after the date on which it is ratified by at least twelve States, including four States each with not less than 2 million units of gross tonnage, and having received during the preceding calendar year a total quantity of at least 40 million tonnes of cargo that would be contributing to the general account.

The HNS Convention is an important part of the international maritime liability and compensation regime as it establishes a comprehensive scheme covering pollution damage from hazardous and noxious substances carried by ships. The shipping industry strongly supports its ratification. Denmark’s ratification is an important first ratification by an EU Member State. We hope that this encourages other EU Member States to ratify the Convention as soon as possible enabling its early entry into force,

...said ECSA Secretary General Martin Dorsman.

The 2010 HNS Convention establishes a comprehensive, uniform and global set of liability rules covering pollution damage from hazardous and noxious substances carried by ships, as well as the risks of fire and explosion, including loss of life, personal injury and loss of or damage to property.

In the case of larger pollution incidents, where the damages exceed the limit of the shipowner’s, the HNS Fund, pays “top up” compensation.  This two tier liability regime ensures better protection and compensation for potential victims of an incident with hazardous and noxious substances at sea.

The Convention is increasingly important as the carriage of HNS by sea is growing by almost all ship types including: container ships, chemical, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) tankers.