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Legal Committee, 104th session, 26-28 April 2017

28/04/2017

Promoting the HNS 2010 Convention - draft Assembly resolution agreed 

The Committee approved a draft Assembly resolution on the implementation and entry into force of the 2010 HNS Protocol, aimed at encouraging implementation of this key  compensation treaty covering liability and compensation for damage caused by the transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by ship. 

Norway recently became the first country to become a Contracting State to the 2010 HNS Protocol.

The draft resolution, to be submitted to the Assembly 30th session (27 November-6 December 2017) for adoption, calls on States to consider ratifying, or acceding to, the 2010 HNS Protocol and implement it in a timely manner.

The draft resolution urges all States to work together towards the implementation and entry into force of the 2010 HNS Protocol by sharing best practices, and in resolving any practical difficulties in setting up the new regime. States are also encouraged to work with industry to assist in the implementation process by using the tools that are made available on identifying receivers, contributing cargo and other relevant information.

The Committee agreed on the need for further awareness raising. A generic presentation providing typical HNS incident scenarios was approved by the Committee.

It was decided that a two-day workshop on the HNS Convention, aimed at Governments, should be held in 2018 in conjunction with the meetings of LEG 105 or the IOPC Funds. 

Entry into force of the HNS liability and compensation treaty 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.

IMO, together with the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) and the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), has disseminated 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.

Delegating the authority of issuing certificates of insurance under the 1992 CLC and the 2010 HNS Convention– draft resolution agreed
The Committee approved a draft Assembly resolution to allow for the delegation of authority to issue certificates of insurance under the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992 (the 1992 Civil Liability Convention) and the 2010 HNS Convention.

Unlike the Bunkers Convention 2001, the 2002 Athens Convention and the 2007 Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention, the 1992 Civil Liability Convention and the 2010 HNS Convention do not provide an explicit framework for the delegation of authority to issue certificates of insurance.

The draft resolution, to be submitted to the Assembly’s 30th session (27 November-6 December 2017) for adoption, confirms that a State Party to the 1992 Civil Liability Convention or the 2010 HNS Convention can authorize an institution or an organization recognized by it to issue the certificates of insurance or other financial security required by these Conventions.

It also  reminds States Parties that the delegation of authority to issue the certificates of insurance or other financial security required by the 1992 Civil Liability Convention and the 2010 HNS Convention would not affect the potential liability the delegating State may have in relation to those certificates.

Abandonment database 
The Committee discussed the joint IMO/International Labour Organization (ILO) joint database of abandonment of seafarers (http://www.ilo.ch/dyn/seafarers/seafarersbrowse.home), recognized as an important tool in monitoring and resolving cases of abandonment. It was agreed that IMO and ILO should work to improve the functioning of the database.

Over the last five years, between 12 to 18 incidents, affecting 1,015 seafarers, have been reported annually. During this period, 33 flag States were involved in 75 incidents and 40 port States were involved in 77 incidents. Since  18 January 2017 there has been a spike of new abandonment cases, with 11 cases thus far, compared to 5 in the same period in 2016 and 5 in 2015.

The Committee expressed its strong commitment to preserving the rights of seafarers in cases of abandonment and noted that providing accurate information to the IMO/ILO database was not only the responsibility of the flag State but also that of the port State and other parties that were involved. Consultations and contacts with the flag State should take place prior to publication on the database.

The Committee also acknowledged the benefits of the amendments to the MLC relating to the provision of financial security for abandonment, personal injury to and death of seafarers, which entered into force in January. The Committee urged those Member States, that have not already done so, to consider ratifying the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 at their earliest convenience.

Fair treatment of seafarers - workshop
The Committee welcomed information from the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) regarding a one-day workshop organized by the ITF in London, on 23 June 2017, on the implementation of the 2006 Guidelines on fair treatment of seafarers in the event of a maritime accident (Resolution LEG.3(91)).

Some delegations informed the Committee that they were implementing the Guidelines into their national legislation.

Seafarer contracts after a hijack
The Committee discussed a proposal to invite the ILO to explore the possibility of an amendment to the MLC 2006 to incorporate enabling provisions for the continuation of seafarers' contracts when seafarers were held in captivity for protracted periods.

It was noted that an ILO working group of the Special Tripartite Committee (STC) established under the MLC 2006 was currently looking into this matter and would submit its recommendations to the third meeting of the STC in April 2018.

Certificates to be carried on board ships
The Committee approved the addition of mandatory insurance certificates into the consolidated draft list of certificates and documents required to be carried on board ships, 2017

Guidance on liability and compensation issues connected with transboundary oil pollution damage resulting from offshore exploration and exploitation activities

The Committee noted the finalized guidance for bilateral/regional arrangements or agreements on liability and compensation issues connected with transboundary oil pollution damage resulting from offshore exploration and exploitation activities guidance, provided by Indonesia and Denmark

The Committee encouraged Member States and observer delegations to take the guidance into consideration when negotiating bilateral/regional arrangements or agreements connected with transboundary pollution damage from offshore exploration and exploitation activities.

Legal advice to FAL
The Committee discussed a request from the Facilitation Committee to provide legal advice on the status of the appendices to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention). It was agreed that informal consultation could take place intersessionally, with a view to LEG 105 finalizing the legal advice for submission to the next FAL 42 committee meeting in 2018.