The event gathered representatives from the IMO, the IOPC fund, the European Commission, Member States as well as industry representatives to speak about the purpose and benefit of the Convention, how the convention will enhance the international liability framework and the main reasons why states are being encouraged to ratify or accede to the Convention as soon as possible.

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It also served as an opportunity to hear the experiences from both states that have ratified and those that are yet to ratify. Representatives of the IMO and the IOPC fund offered their expertise to assist interested states in the ratification process.

The representative of the European Commission recalled the importance of the Convention and the 2017 Council Decision that urged EU Member States to ratify by May 2021. The Commission also provided its assistance, where possible, in this process.

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

stated ECSA Secretary General, Martin Dorsman.

Until now, Denmark is the only EU Member State that ratified the Convention. However, Viggo Bondi, Chairman of ECSA's Legal Advisory Committee said the fact that numerous other EU Member States including France, Netherlands and Belgium, plan to ratify in the near future, is encouraging.

We welcome this important development and encourage all other Member States to progress their efforts to ratify the Convention as soon as possible. In this way the EU will lead by example and enable the Convention's entry into force. This is important as the shipping is the most international of industries and it needs global rules and a level playing field

2010 HNS Convention

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, 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.

The Convention will enter into force eighteen months after ratification by at least twelve States. In April 2017, Norway became the first state to ratify the 2010 Protocol to the Convention followed by Canada, Turkey and Denmark in 2018 and South Africa in July 2019.

It is also required that:

  • Four States must each have a registered tonnage of at least 2 million GT (this requirement has now been met);
  • Contributors in the States that have ratified the Convention must have received during the preceding calendar year a minimum of 40 million tonnes of cargo consisting of bulk solids and other HNS liable for contributions.