Denmark has become the first country to sign, subject to ratification, the Protocol of 2010 to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996.
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.
The 2010 Protocol, which was adopted at a conference held in 2010 to address practical problems that had prevented many States from ratifying the original 1996 Convention, will enter into force eighteen months after the date on which the following conditions are fulfilled:
· (a) at least twelve States, including four States each with not less than 2 million units of gross tonnage, have expressed their consent to be bound by it; and
· (b) the Secretary-General has received information in accordance with article 20, paragraphs 4 and 6, that those persons in such States who would be liable to contribute pursuant to article 18, paragraphs 1(a) and (c), of the Convention, as amended by the 2010 Protocol, have received during the preceding calendar year a total quantity of at least 40 million tonnes of cargo contributing to the general account.
The HNS Convention was adopted in 1996 to make it possible for prompt and adequate compensation to be paid out to victims of accidents involving HNS, such as chemicals. The Convention covers not only pollution damage but also the risks of fire and explosion, including loss of life or personal injury as well as loss of or damage to property.
HNS are defined by reference to lists of substances included in various IMO Conventions and Codes. These include oils; other liquid substances defined as noxious or dangerous; liquefied gases; liquid substances with a flashpoint not exceeding 60°C; dangerous, hazardous and harmful materials and substances carried in packaged form; and solid bulk materials defined as possessing chemical hazards. The Convention also covers residues left by the previous carriage of HNS, other than those carried in packaged form.
Under the 2010 Protocol, if damage is caused by bulk HNS, compensation would first be sought from the shipowner, up to a maximum limit of 100 million Special Drawing Rights (SDR).
Where damage is caused by packaged HNS, or by both bulk HNS and packaged HNS, the maximum liability for the shipowner is 115 million SDR.
Once this limit is reached, compensation would be paid from a second tier, the HNS Fund, up to a maximum of 250 million SDR (including compensation paid under the first tier).
IMO – the International Maritime Organization – is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
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