Implementation of the HNS Convention and the 2010 Protocol

The 62 000-tonne vessel MSC Napoli grounded off the UK coast in January 2007, while carrying 159 HNS containers.

The entry into force of the 2010 HNS Convention continues to feature on the agenda of the IMO Legal Committee meetings and 1992 Fund Assembly sessions. Both Secretariats regularly run workshops on the Convention and they, together with the HNS Correspondence Group, are taking the lead on ensuring States have all the necessary tools and information at hand to adopt and implement the 2010 HNS Convention as soon as possible.

IMO workshop in London, April 2018

Over 40 States as well as various industry organisations attended a two-day workshop on the 2010 HNS Convention organised by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in cooperation with the IOPC Funds which took place at the IMO Headquarters from 26-27 April 2018. 

The workshop was opened by IMO's Director of Legal Affairs and External Relations Division, Frederick Kenney.  IOPC Funds' Director José Maura also provided some opening remarks, with both speakers focusing on the positive progress being made towards entry into force of the Convention and in particular the recent ratifications by Canada, Turkey and previously Norway. 

The workshop focussed on practical issues likely to be faced by States implementing the 2010 HNS Convention.  It included a number of presentations and discussion sessions, with François Marier (Canada) acting as moderator.  The sessions covered topics such as the approach taken by States to implement the Convention, the reporting of contributing cargo, HNS incidents and risks and the views of the shipping industry and cargo interests on the Convention and its global need.  The IOPC Funds delivered three presentations over the two days and were on hand to respond to questions and participate in discussions throughout.

At the closing of the workshop Mr Marier commented on the successful exchange of information and discussions that had taken place.  In particular, he referred to the united front of support for the Convention that had been demonstrated by both shipping and cargo interests who were proactively encouraging States to proceed with the implementation process.  States were encouraged to collaborate, make use of the advice provided by fellow States, of the expertise of IMO and the IOPC Funds and of the tools that had been made available to assist in promoting the understanding of the Convention within their administrations.  He noted the clear progress towards entry into force of the Convention and the momentum that had clearly gathered in recent months, with the concluding message being that the onus was now on States to ensure that that momentum was not lost, but that the Convention instead remained high on each State's list of domestic priorities. 

The presentations provided during the workshop are available to download below.

Workshop hosted by Canada, March 2016

Transport Canada hosted a two-day Workshop on the 2010 HNS Convention on 17 and 18 March 2016 in Montreal. The workshop had a full programme which attracted speakers and participants from government and industry and covered many of the key areas pertinent to the entry into force of the Convention.

The workshop was moderated by the Coordinator of IMO's HNS Correspondence Group, Mr Francois Marier. A summary of the topics covered at the workshop is set out in document IOPC/APR16/5/1, submitted to the 20th session of the 1992 Fund Assembly for its consideration in April 2016. The workshop programme and the presentations delivered are available below.

The concluding session of the workshop focussed on the development of a draft resolution to be considered by the IMO Legal Committee in June 2016, including possibly setting out a target date for the Convention's coming into force as part of an international coordinated effort towards ratification, which was a key message from the participants.

States urged to ratify compensation regime for Hazardous and Noxious Cargoes

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), together with the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) and the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), is urging its Member States to ratify and implement a key compensation treaty covering the transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by ship. "The HNS Convention recognizes that accidents can and do happen and it 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," said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim. "The number of ships carrying HNS cargoes is growing steadily with more than 200 million tonnes of chemicals traded annually by tankers. I urge all States to consider acceding to the HNS 2010 treaty as soon as possible, in order to bring it into force."

Entry into force requires accession by at least 12 States, meeting certain criteria in relation to tonnage and reporting annually the quantity of HNS cargo received in a State. There are as yet no contracting States to the 2010 HNS Convention. However, progress towards the Convention's entry into force has gathered pace over the past year, with a number of States preparing the necessary implementing legislation.

Together with the IOPC Funds and ITOPF, IMO has produced a six-page brochure that explains to States the purpose and benefit of the HNS Convention and encourages IMO Member States to take the next steps to ratify or accede to the Convention. The development of the brochure was achieved collaboratively through an IMO Correspondence Group and its production was funded through a donation made to IMO by the Government of Canada. It is the first in a series of tools to be developed in collaboration with IMO Member States, the purpose of which is to make ratification a priority and to assist government administrations in their internal promotion of the Convention. It also highlights the potential risk to claimants if there is currently no liability and compensation regime in force. The brochure can be downloaded from the resources page in English, French or Spanish. To read more about visit

European Council in agreement to authorise EU Member States to ratify or accede to the 2010 HNS Convention

On 10 December 2015, the Council of the European Union adopted two Council Decisions authorising EU Member States to ratify or accede to the 2010 HNS Convention, if possible within four years of entry into force of these Decisions. As parts of the Convention fall under the EU's exclusive competence in the area of maritime transport, EU Member States needed to be authorised to be able to ratify or accede to it which is the purpose of the first Decision. In addition, the Convention contains provisions that affect EU secondary legislation on jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters, issues which are covered by the second Council decision.

Based on a proposal from the European Commission in June this year, discussions had been taking place at Council-level on whether EU Member States should be instructed to take the necessary measures and within a certain time to ratify or accede to the 2010 HNS Convention. The Commission's proposal was backed by the shipping industry, with the European Community Shipowners' Associations (ECSA), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and BIMCO jointly presenting a position paper stressing their support for the early entry into force of the 2010 Convention. As part of those discussions, the IOPC Funds' Director and Head of External Relations and Conference, attended a meeting of the Council's Shipping Working Party on 2 December 2015, providing presentations on both the legal framework of the Convention and the reporting obligations and practicalities which receivers of HNS will be subject to in the period leading to the Convention's entry into force.

The two Decisions agreed by the Council (decisions 13806/15 and 14112/15) will now be sent to the European Parliament for its consent before publication, but even at this stage, the Council's support for the Convention is clearly a positive step towards its entry into force.

Extension of the Mandate of the HNS Correspondence Group

At its 102nd session, held in April 2015, the IMO Legal Committee decided to extend the mandate of the HNS Correspondence Group until its next session (tentatively scheduled for June 2016) and added three items to its Terms of Reference which would be the focus of the Correspondence Group in the year to come.

The Coordinator of the Correspondence Group had provided the Committee with a summary of the Group's discussions and activities over the previous year and made recommendations for the extension of the Group's mandate to allow it to focus on further developing three specific work items in the year to come, namely:

  1. "Understanding the HNS Convention" publication;
  2. HNS Scenarios; and
  3. A draft Legal Committee resolution on implementation and entry into force of the 2010 HNS Convention.

The Legal Committee agreed to extend the mandate of the Correspondence Group with the addition of those three specific items to its Terms of Reference. Further details of those items and their intended use to States considering ratification of the Protocol can be found under the Group's dedicated blog at:

HNS Workshop

Rome, Italy, 10 October 2014

The Italian Government hosted a workshop on the HNS Convention in Rome on 10 October 2014. Supported by the IOPC Funds and lead by François Marier, the coordinator of the HNS Correspondence Group, the workshop was well attended by the Italian private sector and a number of participants from abroad. It became clear from the discussions that many States were advancing towards ratification but that both States and the industry required practical support to facilitate implementation. In addition,the workshop demonstrated that there was a need for increased coordination among interested States, internationally and regionally. Reference was made to the efforts recently deployed by the European Union to provide specific guidelines. The key conclusions drawn from the workshop and the presentations given are provided below.

National Workshop on the 2010 HNS Convention
Port Klang, Malaysia, 6 - 8 November 2013

Representatives of the IMO and IOPC Funds secretariats delivered a workshop on the 2010 HNS Convention from 6 to 8 November 2013 in Port Klang, Malaysia's largest port city. The workshop was organized by the Marine Department of Malaysia and supported by the IMO's Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme.

The three-day training course aimed at assisting the Malaysian Government with the ratification and implementation of the Convention in the near future. It focused on the legal framework, including claims, the contributing cargo reporting system and operational issues related to the compensation regime for HNS incidents. More than 50 representatives from government agencies, port authorities and the industry from Malaysia participated. Government representatives from Indonesia and Singapore also took part.

Training Session on the 2010 HNS Convention
Lisbon, 23 - 24 May 2013

The European Maritime Safety Agency organized the training to assist the European Union's pre-accession states with the implementation of EU and international regulations. IOPC Funds delivered a presentation covering the legal framework and reporting requirements of the 2010 HNS Convention.

Training Course on the 2010 HNS Convention
Malta, 12 - 13 December 2012

The Regional Marine Pollution Emergency Response Centre for the Mediterranean Sea (REMPEC) organized a training course on the HNS pollution compensation regime. The IOPC Funds and ITOPF providded support for its delivery. Twenty-two technical and administrative officials from 10 non-European States in the Mediterranean region participated in the course to familiarize themselves with the Convention's tier-system compensation and reporting requirements as amended by the 2010 Protocol. The training was funded by the European Union's regional transport project SAFEMED II.

Workshop on HNS reporting in preparation for the entry into force of the HNS Protocol 2010
IMO, London, 12-13 November 2012

A workshop on the reporting of Hazardous and Noxious Substances (HNS), under the chairmanship of François Marier (Canada) and organised by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in cooperation with the IOPC Funds, took place in London on 12 and 13 November. Delegates from 29 States worldwide agreed on a set of guidelines for reporting contributing cargo under the 2010 HNS Convention. Several industry representatives also participated and shared their perspective. Intended to assist States with the Convention's accession or ratification, these guidelines reflect the work carried out by States, the IMO and the IOPC Funds since the adoption of the original 1996 HNS Convention as revisited after the adoption of the 2010 HNS Protocol. The adoption of those guidelines is the result of the international community's collective efforts to push towards the Convention's entry into force. The HNS reporting guidelines were endorsed by the IMO Legal Committee in April 2013.

Special Consultative Meeting
Rotterdam, the Netherlands, 14 - 15 June 2011

A special consultative meeting took place in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on 14 and 15 June 2011, which brought together nine States that had expressed an interest in the ratification of the 2010 HNS Protocol. In light of the changes introduced by the 2010 HNS Protocol, the meeting provided an occasion to revisit the outcomes of the 2003 Ottawa meeting (see below page), mentioned in Resolution 4 of the 2010 HNS Protocol, as the best approach for the implementation of the 1996 HNS Convention (document LEG 87/11).

The delegates at the Rotterdam meeting were reminded that the 2010 HNS Protocol would be open for signature until 31 October 2011. The delegates agreed that States considering ratification of the 2010 HNS Protocol should be encouraged to show their intention by signing the Protocol before the deadline. The delegates further agreed that it would be important for those States that were unable to meet the deadline, even though they were interested in ratification/accession, to at least clarify their position at the regular session of the 1992 Fund Assembly to be held from 24 to 28 October 2011, which coincides with the end of the signature period.

Training on Liability and Compensation Seminar on Maritime Claims
European Maritime Safety Agency
Lisbon, Portugal 18 - 19 May 2011

On 18 and 19 May 2011, the 1992 Fund Secretariat took part in a training seminar on liability and compensation for maritime claims, organised by the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) for representatives of 19 European States. It delivered, among other lectures, a presentation on the 2010 HNS Protocol.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Multiyear Expert Meeting on Transport and Trade Facilitation
Geneva, Switzerland, 8 - 10 December 2010

Mr Jerry Rysanek, Chairman of the 1992 Fund Assembly, and Mr Thomas Liebert, Head of External Relations and Conference Department, attended the third session of the UNCTAD Multiyear Expert meeting on transport and trade facilitation in Geneva from 8 - 10 December 2010.

They presented a paper on 'Liability and Compensation for Ship Source Pollution: Oil and HNS', which provided a comprehensive overview of the international compensation regime and the relevant international legal instruments dealing with ship-source pollution involving oil and HNS. It referred to a number of historical and more recent incidents and described the central role of the IOPC Funds.

An important key message emerged from the discussion suggesting that the international compensation regime of the IOPC Funds and ratification of the HNS Convention may provide win-win solutions, especially for coastal States whose economic well-being and prosperity depended to a large extent on their marine resources, biodiversity, fisheries and tourism. In addition, countries that did not receive significant imports of oil and/or hazardous and noxious substances would be able to benefit from substantial compensation without having to make significant contributions in the event of a claim arising from a pollution incident.

Participants in the meeting were encouraged to raise awareness amongst policy and decision-makers in their respective national administrations about the relevant international legal instruments and to consider the potential benefits arising from their ratification.

HNS Convention Workshop
London, 28 - 29 June 2005

The Secretariat of the IOPC Funds held a Workshop in London on 28 and 29 June 2005 to facilitate States' preparations for ratification of the HNS Convention and to address the need for the uniform interpretation and application of the Convention. The following guide was originally developed by the IOPC Funds' Secretariat to form the basis for that Workshop. The guide was refined after the Workshop, taking into account observations made during the discussion at the Workshop.

Special Consultative Meeting of the HNS Correspondence Group
Ottawa, 3 - 5 June 2003

At the 80th session of the Legal Committee of the International Maritime Organization, held in October 1999, a Correspondence Group was established and charged with monitoring the implementation of the HNS Convention. The Correspondence Group held a special consultative meeting in Ottawa (Canada) from 3 to 5 June 2003 in order to address those issues previously identified as requiring resolution before the entre into force of the HNS Convention and to complete the core work of the Group.

The meeting was attended by representatives of 15 States and of intergovernmental and international non-governmental organisations. The IOPC Funds attended the meeting.