The HNS Finder allows you to search (in English only) the list of all HNS as defined by the 2010 HNS Convention. It provides information on HNS classification criteria and verifies whether a substance qualifies as contributing cargo. Users can also get information on which accounts the contributing substances belong to.
Given the dynamic nature of the list of the hazardous and noxious substances as defined in the 2010 HNS Convention, the HNS Finder is updated on a regular basis. The new version (version 13, which is to be used for preparing reports for the calendar year 2022) was updated on 1 August 2023. The previous version (version 12), reflecting the reporting calendar year 2021, has been transferred to the Archived Data section.
Version 13, which reflects the reporting calendar year 2022, was reviewed thoroughly prior to publication in order to ensure it was fully up to date and to introduce some improvements to the search facility. This led to the annual update being published later than the usual date of 31 May.
Search results or the entire database can be downloaded in a CSV (comma-separated values) file from the results page. This function is made available to assist users to instantly cross-check multiple substances simultaneously.
With the “contains” search option, the system searches for substances containing the typed word(s). This allows for a wide range of results (e.g., searching for “methan” returns many results, including “Chloromethane” and “METHANE, COMPRESSED”; searching for “methanol” yields fewer results, including “Phenylmethanol” and “Methanol”). Taking “gasoline” as another example, a search will yield a range of entries containing the term gasoline but, from these, it is possible to then identify specific product types (such as automotive gasoline or aviation gasoline). Such specific products may appear in other regulatory listings (non-IMO listings) as simply “gasoline” but using the HNS Finder links to the more specific appropriate HNS term may be found.
With the “begins with” search option, the system searches for substances beginning with the typed word(s) in sequence, including space. This gives fewer results and requires a better knowledge of how the substances are spelled (e.g., typing in “fluor” will return many more results than if using “fluorine” which would return more specific entries).
Pay attention to space, punctuation and word order, as the system searches for a substance exactly as you type it in (eg., typing “ether, dichloroethyl” or even “dichloroethylether” would not find “DICHLOROETHYL ETHER” because the word order or punctuation used is different).
The system ignores prefixes with numbers and returns results only with the name (e.g. searching for “contains diaminohexane” will return “1,6-Diaminohexane”).
Search results are displayed in upper and lower-case letters: the former indicates the formal names of substances (as used in the various IMO Codes); the latter indicates synonyms. Clicking on a substance will show both the formal name and any existing synonyms, as recognised in the various codes. For substances that can be transported both in bulk and in packaged form, the search results will differentiate between the two modes of transport and show their respective HNS classification and contribution account as appropriate.
Various filters are available to facilitate specific search results. These include the following options:
- Transport mode (bulk or packaged);
- All accounts (General, Oil, LNG or LPG);
- All sectors (Other HNS/Bulk Solids for General account and Persistent/Non Persistent for Oil account); and
- All Classifications (seven groups reflecting the origin of an entry or product flashpoint properties – see below).
HNS entries identified as a result of carrying out a search using any of the options described above, will be listed alphabetically.
Access to Archived data
By default, the HNS Finder presents a searchable list of HNS that are identified in all the codes and listings in force during the relevant calendar reporting year. To facilitate the reporting of contributing cargo, that list is updated at the end of May every year, which corresponds to the submission deadline under the 2010 HNS Protocol.
However, should a receiver or a government authority need to access previous years’ data for verification or reporting purposes, it is possible to access such data using the Access Archived Data function. This function provides access to the lists from previous years. Selecting a specific year will open the list which was valid during that year.
This archive function provides access to the lists starting from 2020 onwards.
What are HNS?
Article 1.5 (a) of the HNS Convention defines HNS to mean substances, materials and articles carried on board a ship as cargo, as referred to in any of seven groups which are summarised below:
(i) oils, carried in bulk, as defined in regulation 1 of Annex I of MARPOL
(ii) noxious liquid substances (NLS), carried in bulk, as defined in regulation 1.10 of Annex II of MARPOL, including substances and mixtures provisionally categorised with a Pollution Category of X, Y or Z
(iii) dangerous liquid substances carried in bulk which are listed in chapter 17 of the IBC Code or which have had preliminary suitable carriage conditions prescribed by Administrations involved in shipments in accordance with this Code
(iv) dangerous, hazardous and harmful substances, materials and articles in packaged form as covered by the IMDG Code
(v) liquefied gases carried in bulk as listed in chapter 19 of the IGC Code and products for which preliminary suitable carriage conditions have been prescribed by the Administrations involved in shipments in accordance with this Code
(vi) liquid substances carried in bulk with a flashpoint not exceeding 60°C (as measured by a closed-cup test)
(vii) solid bulk materials possessing chemical hazards as covered by the IMSBC Code to the extent that these substances are also subject to the provisions of the IMDG Code in effect in 1996, when carried in packaged form
Several thousand substances are included on these lists and many are covered under more than one category of the Convention definitions of HNS.
Many chemicals and substances have several names or synonyms that can be used to describe them. Formal or primary names found in the Finder are displayed under heading titles as appropriate to the IMO Codes involved as follows:
(ii) / (iii) – Product Name (MARPOL/IBC)
Group (iv) – Proper Shipping Name (IMDG)
Group (v) – Product Name (IGC)
Group (vii) – Bulk Cargo Shipping Name (IMSBC)
In many cases, these are identical for the same substance, but, in some cases, they are not, and a primary name used in one code may be a synonym used in another code. The HNS Finder generally uses the appropriate primary name for substances as reflected in the relevant code, although, in certain cases, this may sometimes default to a broader form of the name to assist with identification.
Nomenclature variations between different regulatory chemical lists for what is effectively the same substance can be confusing, but, unfortunately this is a consequence of how the various lists have been developed over time. Similarly, there may well be differing definitions of what is understood to be bulk cargo in regulations across different transport modes, but ultimately, for the HNS Finder, its guiding principles need to relate to the HNS Convention.
Adopting terms or standards for the Finder used in other regulations outside of those cited above is not appropriate. This could introduce extra complexity in terms of needing to monitor such regulations and additionally, a recognition of the validity of further regulations may well require some form of amendment to be made to the HNS Convention itself.
The Finder is essentially a tool to assist reporting but ultimately, it is the responsibility of all parties using it to understand its basis and for companies to be clear as to how their products comply with the above groupings. The key will be in educating users and here, it may be that there will be a need for additional guidance on the Finder to point out limitations and potential pitfalls if relying on product name sources outside of those specified in the HNS Convention.
Additional Technical Information
UN/NA Number Search
UN numbers (United Nations numbers) are four-digit numbers that identify hazardous materials, and articles (such as explosives, flammable liquids, oxidizers, toxic liquids, etc.) in the framework of international transport.
NA numbers (North America) are issued by the United States Department of Transportation and are identical to UN numbers (except that in some cases, substances without a UN number may have been assigned an NA number).
If you have the UN/NA number, this can be an easy way of searching a substance. Simply enter the four-digit UN/NA number without any UN or NA prefix (e.g., “1017” for chlorine).
Note that UN numbers are only utilised within the HNS Finder in line with their adoption in product lists as found in the various Codes/listings concerned. They consequently only appear for entries relating to packaged goods or bulk solids (both of which reference UN numbers in their respective codes).
When searching in the HNS Finder, caution also needs to be exercised with respect to using UN numbers which may be utilized in regulations outside of those specified in the HNS Convention, such as those used for inland transport. With respect to international shipping and IMO documentation, UN numbers are only formally recognised for Groups (iv) and (vii) above. They may well be used in a broader context by other regulatory bodies, but in the context of the HNS Convention, their only role is for the two Groups mentioned. This means for example that using a UN number to search for Groups (ii) or (iii) bulk liquid chemicals would not yield any results.
HNS can be sub-divided into different categories. For instance, they may be categorised by their physical state (gases, liquids and solids) or by the potential hazards that they present (flammable, explosive, toxic, corrosive or reactive). The 2010 HNS Convention distinguishes substances based on whether they are transported in bulk or in packaged form.
“Bulk HNS” include solids and liquids (including oils) and liquefied gases transported in bulk.
- Bulk gases: All liquefied gases which are transported in bulk are included, such as Liquefied Natural Gas, Liquefied Petroleum Gas, ammonia, ethylene, butadiene, ethane, propylene and others.
- Bulk solids: Many of the major bulk solids are excluded since they do not possess chemical hazards (e.g., iron ore, grain, bauxite and alumina, phosphate rock, cement and some fertilizers). Others are classified as hazardous material only in bulk, but are not considered as HNS (e.g., coal, reduced iron and woodchip). Bulk solids that are covered under the Convention include some fertilizers, sodium and potassium nitrates, sulphur and some types of fishmeal.
- Bulk liquids: These are included if they present safety, pollution or explosion hazards and include organic chemicals (e.g., methanol, xylenes and styrene), inorganic chemicals (e.g., sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid and caustic soda) and vegetable and animal oils and fats (e.g., palm oil, soybean oil and tallow). Both persistent and non-persistent oils of petroleum origin are also included.*
“Packaged HNS” include dangerous, hazardous and harmful substances, materials and articles in packaged form covered by the IMDG Code. The number of substances included under this category is very large.
*Compensation for oil pollution from tanker spills are covered by the international oil pollution compensation regime.
Additional details related to the various HNS product
i. Oil products
Products in this HNS Group essentially arise from the following categories:
MARPOL/IOPC Funds oils
Core entries are identified in Appendix I to Annex I of MARPOL. The list of generic names presented there however is noted as not necessarily being comprehensive. Accordingly, other terms for this Group can be relevant, such as those used by the IOPC Funds in the references available in its form for reporting oil. In the HNS Finder, all of the MARPOL terms and all of the IOPC Funds contributing oil names are recorded. Note that in line with the HNS Convention, the MARPOL entries incorporate both persistent and non-persistent oils and that in the HNS Finder, entries in the Oil Account record may accordingly be sub-categorised in this manner.
Additional to the range of conventional petroleum products noted above, in recent years two further types of cargo have now been routinely transported by sea: biofuels and energy-rich fuels.
Biofuels are produced from agricultural products and are typically used as a blend in conjunction with conventional mineral oil-based blendstocks to make diesel and gasoline products. They are listed by IMO in an MEPC.2/Circular issued annually addressing the ‘Provisional Categorization of Liquid Substances in accordance with MARPOL Annex II and the IBC Code’. In this Circular they appear under Annex 11, ‘Biofuels recognized under the 2019 Guidelines for the carriage of blends of biofuels and MARPOL Annex I cargoes’.
b. Energy-rich fuels
Energy-rich fuels are wholly or partly derived from non-petroleum feedstock and they can be produced either without blending as such or by blending with conventional petroleum products. These fuels are complex mixtures with a relatively large number of constituents and as such, they cannot be represented by a simple chemical structure. In the same way as Biofuels, they are listed by IMO in the annual MEPC.2/Circular noted above where they may be found under Annex 12, “Energy-rich fuels subject to Annex I of MARPOL”.
ii. MARPOL Noxious Liquid Substances (NSL) products
Core entries for these products are defined by the latest listings in force for the IBC Code (when entries have a Pollution Category of X, Y or Z assigned), together with any products provisionally assessed via tripartite agreements as meeting this requirement.
In practice, for the IBC Code this means relevant listings in Chapters 17 and 18. Additionally in the Code, Chapter 19 lists approved Index Names which reflect agreed synonyms for the formal Product Names contained in the previous two chapters.
Tripartite agreements are published annually in the MEPC.2/Circular on lists 1- 4, depending on a product’s name (chemical or trade) and its properties. Usually, list 1 entries (chemical names) will ultimately be moved into the IBC Code whilst lists 2 and 3 (covering trade-named products) are retained permanently in the Circular. List 4 (covering mixture products) is essentially a holding list pending further evaluation to allow transfer to list 2 (or possibly list 3 depending on the outcome).
Note that unlike the case for oil products, the listings in the IBC Code and any related tripartite agreements are definitive and cannot be amended or added to without formal approval. This holds even for any synonyms given in the Chapter 19 Index.
iii. IBC Code Chapter 17 products
In the HNS Finder, the core entries for these products are essentially defined by the latest listings in force for Chapter 17 of the IBC Code. In general, as these products invariably have a Pollution Category of X, Y or Z assigned, this Group is basically a subset of the broader category of Group (ii) products.
Although products covered by preliminary tripartite agreement proposals which include safety hazards are also relevant here, in the HNS Finder these entries are generally recorded and assigned under Group (ii). This applies to both list 1 and list 3 MEPC.2/Circular products as appropriate (regardless of whether carriage requirements have provisional/preliminary or permanent status assigned).
iv. IMDG Code products
Core entries here are defined by the latest listings in force for the IMDG Code including any amendments or additions as approved by the IMO Maritime Safety Committee (the IMDG Code is formally reissued every four years, with interim amendments approved at two years in between this cycle). As with the IBC Code, the listings in the Code including synonyms in the Index are definitive and cannot be amended or added to without formal approval.
In this Group, products are assigned a Proper Shipping Name and are also associated with an appropriate United Nations number (UN Number) as relating to the transport of dangerous substances) which is included in the HNS Finder product information.
As packaged goods, all Group (iv)/IMDG Code entries are classified as non-contributing cargo with respect to the HNS Convention reporting requirements.
v. IGC Code products
The core entries for these liquified gases are essentially defined by the latest listings in force for Chapter 19 of the IGC Code. Tripartite arrangements are also permitted to cover any new shipments not listed in Chapter 19 but in practice, such proposals are rarely raised. As with the IBC and IMDG Codes, the listings in this Code are definitive and cannot be amended without formal approval.
vi. Products with flashpoints of 60°C or less
In this Group, there is no list of core entries since examples may be found in a number of the other groupings defined in the HNS Convention. As this Group relates only to bulk liquid shipments, however, there is no overlap with either Group (iv) (packaged goods) or Group (vii) (bulk solids). In Groups (i), (ii), (iii) and (v), where a product has flashpoint properties meeting this criterion, they are also recorded as Group (vi) substances along with their other G assignments.
, Group (vi) does include all products within the LNG and LPG Accounts. In these cases, neither account is subject to a prescribed list of formally approved names and so there is a degree of freedom available to register suitable terms. In this context, a small collection of relevant names has been assembled for both Accounts (including in a few cases where identical terms may also be found in Groups (iv) or (v)) in order to provide a clear guidance for LNG/LPG reporting purposes.
vii. IMSBC Code products
Core entries for this Group are contained amongst the products listed in Appendix 1 of the latest version of the IMSBC Code. However, not all of the entries shown there are valid as the 2010 HNS Convention also requires that substances must have been subject to the provisions of the IMDG Code in effect in 1996 when carried in packaged form. This additional requirement was introduced at that time as a means to exclude certain IMSBC cargoes from the 1996 HNS Convention.
To assist in identifying substances falling within the scope of this HNS Group, IMO issued Circular Letter No.3144 which gives an indicative list of products meeting the conditions outlined above. This reference list is what is used in the HNS Finder for Group (vii) products.
As with other IMO Codes, the listings presented in are definitive and cannot be amended or added to without formal approval. In the IMSBC Code, there is an index which features all of the formal Bulk Cargo Shipping Names together with recognised secondary names (when applicable). These latter terms, as appropriate, are also recorded under Group (vii) in the HNS Finder.
As with IMDG Group (iv) products, United Nations numbers are also recognised in the IMSBC Code and accordingly, UN Numbers are included with the HNS Finder product information when applicable.
IMO documentation supporting the HNS Finder
MARPOL (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships) + MEPC (Marine Environment Protection Committee) Resolutions for amendments
SOLAS (International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) + MSC (Maritime Safety Committee) Resolutions for amendments
IBC Code (International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk) + MEPC (Marine Environment Protection Committee) Resolutions for amendments
IMDG Code (International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code) + MSC (Maritime Safety Committee) Resolutions for amendments
IGC Code (International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk) + MSC (Maritime Safety Committee) Resolutions for amendments
IMSBC Code (International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes Code) + MSC (Maritime Safety Committee) Resolutions for amendments
MEPC.2/Circular (Provisional Categorization of Liquid Substances in accordance with MARPOL Annex II and the IBC Code), updated annually on the 1st December
IMO Website (for tripartite agreements arising in December after publication of the MEPC.2/Circular in order to have a full record for a calendar year)
IMO Circular letter No.3144 (List of solid bulk materials possessing chemical hazards which are mentioned by name in the IMSBC Code and also in the IMDG Code in effect in 1996; and list of solid bulk materials possessing chemical hazards which are mentioned by name in the IMSBC Code but not in the IMDG Code in effect in 1996)