Status of the HNS Convention and 2010 Protocol


Ms Dilek Ayhan, State Secretary in the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries, handing an instrument of ratification of the 2010 HNS Protocol to IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at the IMO Headquarters.

Entry Into Force

The 2010 HNS Protocol 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 Protocol was open for signature at the headquarters of the IMO between 1 November 2010 and 31 October 2011. It now remains open for accession. Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession is effected by the deposit of an appropriate instrument with the Secretary-General of IMO.

Contributing Cargo Reporting Form for States and receivers of HNS have been developed to accompany any expression of consent to be bound by the Protocol and is designed to assist in the ratification/accession process only. If a State has not received any HNS contributing cargo, it can submit a nil declaration.

Status of Signature/Ratification

Denmark became the fourth State to ratify the 2010 HNS Protocol in July 2018. They join Canada, Norway and Turkey, who have also deposited instruments of ratification to the Protocol and who are leading the way towards entry into force of the 2010 HNS Convention.

Amongst the criteria for the Convention’s entry into force, at least 12 States are required to ratify the Protocol, four of which must each have a merchant shipping fleet of no less than 2 million units of gross tonnage. As a result of this latest ratification, the Protocol now has one third of the number of States required for its entry into force and Canada, Denmark, Norway and Turkey each have more than 2 million units of gross tonnage, so this particular requirement is now met.

Deputy High Commissioner of Canada to the United Kingdom, Sarah Fountain Smith, handed Canada’s instrument of ratification of the 2010 HNS Protocol to IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at the IMO headquarters on 23 April 2018.

Members of the Canadian delegation to the IOPC Funds, François Marier and Gillian Grant, representing Transport Canada and the High Commission respectively, were also present for this important occasion together with the Director of the IOPC Funds, José Maura, and IMO’s Director of the Legal Affairs and External Relations Division, Frederick Kenney.

His Excellency Abdurrahman Bilgiç, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey to the United Kingdom, deposited Turkey’s instrument of ratification during the opening of the 105th session of the IMO Legal Committee. 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, Norway, Canada and Turkey are the first three States to ratify the Protocol. 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 Friday 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,” 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 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. He also expressed his delight at the time of the ratification: “This is great progress and I hope that further States will soon follow Norway and bring about the entry into force of the 2010 HNS Convention.”

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.

Mr. Kasper Høeg-Jensen, Minister Counsellor, Royal Danish Embassy, London, signed the HNS Protocol 2010 on behalf of Denmark at IMO Headquarters on 14 April 2011.