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The HNS Convention


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 The HNS Convention - why it is needed

​The transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by sea is a vital trade. Chemicals and other products underpin many manufacturing processes and IMO regulations ensure their safe transport.

However, incidents do happen - and the HNS Convention is the last piece in the puzzle needed to ensure that those who have suffered damage have access to a comprehensive and international liability and compensation regime.



HNS covered by the Convention 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 or in containers; and solid bulk materials defined as possessing chemical hazards.

The HNS Convention establishes the principle that the ‘polluter pays’ by ensuring that the shipping and HNS industries provide compensation for those who have suffered loss or damage resulting from an HNS incident.

The shipping, oil, gas, chemical, petrochemical and other HNS industries are committed to paying such compensation through an international system, and the HNS Convention provides the framework just such a system. The HNS Convention benefits all State Parties (producing, receiving and coastal States) by establishing a system of strict liability and clear claims criteria.

The current HNS Convention was adopted in 2010, amending a previous instrument that had been adopted in 1996. However, the 2010 HNS Convention has still not entered into force; States must ratify it before this can happen.

Together with the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) and the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), IMO has produced a six-page brochure that explains the benefits of the convention and encourages the next steps for States to implement and accede to the convention .

The brochure is available in English, French and Spanish​.

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