THE STATES PARTIES TO THE PRESENT CONVENTION,
CONSCIOUS of the fact that wrecks, if not removed, may pose a hazard to navigation or the marine environment,
CONVINCED of the need to adopt uniform international rules and procedures to ensure the prompt and effective removal of wrecks and payment of compensation for the costs therein involved,
NOTING that many wrecks may be located in States’ territory, including the territorial sea,
RECOGNIZING the benefits to be gained through uniformity in legal regimes governing responsibility and liability for removal of hazardous wrecks,
BEARING IN MIND the importance of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, done at Montego Bay on 10 December 1982, and of the customary international law of the sea, and the consequent need to implement the present Convention in accordance with such provisions,
HAVE AGREED as follows:
For the purposes of this Convention:
1 Convention area means the exclusive economic zone of a State Party, established in accordance with international law or, if a State Party has not established such a zone, an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea of that State determined by that State in accordance with international law and extending not more than 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of its territorial sea is measured.
2 Ship means a seagoing vessel of any type whatsoever and includes hydrofoil boats, air-cushion vehicles, submersibles, floating craft and floating platforms, except when such platforms are on location engaged in the exploration, exploitation or production of seabed mineral resources.
3 Maritime casualty means a collision of ships, stranding or other incident of navigation, or other occurrence on board a ship or external to it, resulting in material damage or imminent threat of material damage to a ship or its cargo.
4 Wreck, following upon a maritime casualty, means:
(a) a sunken or stranded ship; or
(b) any part of a sunken or stranded ship, including any object that is or has been on board such a ship; or
(c) any object that is lost at sea from a ship and that is stranded, sunken or adrift at sea; or
(d) a ship that is about, or may reasonably be expected, to sink or to strand, where effective measures to assist the ship or any property in danger are not already being taken.
5 Hazard means any condition or threat that:
(a) poses a danger or impediment to navigation; or
(b) may reasonably be expected to result in major harmful consequences to the marine environment, or damage to the coastline or related interests of one or more States.
6 Related interests means the interests of a coastal State directly affected or threatened by a wreck, such as:
(a) maritime coastal, port and estuarine activities, including fisheries activities, constituting an essential means of livelihood of the persons concerned;
(b) tourist attractions and other economic interests of the area concerned;
(c) the health of the coastal population and the wellbeing of the area concerned, including conservation of marine living resources and of wildlife; and
(d) offshore and underwater infrastructure.
7 Removal means any form of prevention, mitigation or elimination of the hazard created by a wreck. “Remove”, “removed” and “removing” shall be construed accordingly.
8 Registered owner means the person or persons registered as the owner of the ship or, in the absence of registration, the person or persons owning the ship at the time of the maritime casualty. However, in the case of a ship owned by a State and operated by a company which in that State is registered as the operator of the ship, “registered owner” shall mean such company.
9 Operator of the ship means the owner of the ship or any other organization or person such as the manager, or the bareboat charterer, who has assumed the responsibility for operation of the ship from the owner of the ship and who, on assuming such responsibility, has agreed to take over all duties and responsibilities established under the International Safety Management Code, as amended.
10 Affected State means the State in whose Convention area the wreck is located.
11 State of the ship’s registry means, in relation to a registered ship, the State of registration of the ship and, in relation to an unregistered ship, the State whose flag the ship is entitled to fly.
12 Organization means the International Maritime Organization.
13 Secretary-General means the Secretary-General of the Organization.
Objectives and general principles
1 A State Party may take measures in accordance with this Convention in relation to the removal of a wreck which poses a hazard in the Convention area.
2 Measures taken by the Affected State in accordance with paragraph 1 shall be proportionate to the hazard.
3 Such measures shall not go beyond what is reasonably necessary to remove a wreck which poses a hazard and shall cease as soon as the wreck has been removed; they shall not unnecessarily interfere with the rights and interests of other States including the State of the ship’s registry, and of any person, physical or corporate, concerned.
4 The application of this Convention within the Convention area shall not entitle a State Party to claim or exercise sovereignty or sovereign rights over any part of the high seas.
5 States Parties shall endeavour to co-operate when the effects of a maritime casualty resulting in a wreck involve a State other than the Affected State.
Scope of application
1 Except as otherwise provided in this Convention, this Convention shall apply to wrecks in the Convention area.
2 A State Party may extend the application of this Convention to wrecks located within its territory, including the territorial sea, subject to Article 4, paragraph 4. In that case, it shall notify the Secretary-General accordingly, at the time of expressing its consent to be bound by this Convention or at any time thereafter. When a State Party has made a notification to apply this Convention to wrecks located within its territory, including the territorial sea, this is without prejudice to the rights and obligations of that State to take measures in relation to wrecks located in its territory, including the territorial sea, other than locating, marking and removing them in accordance with this Convention. The provisions of articles 10, 11 and 12 of this Convention shall not apply to any measures so taken other than those referred to in articles 7, 8 and 9 of this Convention.
3 When a State Party has made a notification under paragraph 2, the “Convention area” of the Affected State shall include the territory, including the territorial sea, of that State Party.
4 A notification made under paragraph 2 above shall take effect for that State Party, if made before entry into force of this Convention for that State Party, upon entry into force. If notification is made after entry into force of this Convention for that State Party, it shall take effect six months after its receipt by the Secretary-General.
5 A State Party that has made a notification under paragraph 2 may withdraw it at any time by means of a notification of withdrawal to the Secretary-General. Such notification of withdrawal shall take effect six months after its receipt by the Secretary-General, unless the notification specifies a later date.
1 This Convention shall not apply to measures taken under the International Convention relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Oil Pollution Casualties, 1969, as amended, or the Protocol relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Pollution by Substances other than Oil, 1973, as amended.
2 This Convention shall not apply to any warship or other ship owned or operated by a State and used, for the time being, only on Government non-commercial service, unless that State decides otherwise.
3 Where a State Party decides to apply this Convention to its warships or other ships as described in paragraph 2, it shall notify the Secretary-General, thereof, specifying the terms and conditions of such application.
4 (a) When a State Party has made a notification under article 3, paragraph 2, the following provisions of this Convention shall not apply in its territory, including the territorial sea:
(i) Article 2, paragraph 4;
(ii) Article 9, paragraphs 1, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10; and
(iii) Article 15.
(b) Article 9, paragraph 4, insofar as it applies to the territory, including the territorial sea of a State Party, shall read:
Subject to the national law of the Affected State, the registered owner may contract with any salvor or other person to remove the wreck determined to constitute a hazard on behalf of the owner. Before such removal commences, the Affected State may lay down conditions for such removal only to the extent necessary to ensure that the removal proceeds in a manner that is consistent with considerations of safety and protection of the marine environment.
1 A State Party shall require the master and the operator of a ship flying its flag to report to the Affected State without delay when that ship has been involved in a maritime casualty resulting in a wreck. To the extent that the reporting obligation under this article has been fulfilled either by the master or the operator of the ship, the other shall not be obliged to report.
2 Such reports shall provide the name and the principal place of business of the registered owner and all the relevant information necessary for the Affected State to determine whether the wreck poses a hazard in accordance with article 6, including:
(a) the precise location of the wreck;
(b) the type, size and construction of the wreck;
(c) the nature of the damage to, and the condition of, the wreck;
(d) the nature and quantity of the cargo, in particular any hazardous and noxious substances; and
(e) the amount and types of oil, including bunker oil and lubricating oil, on board.
Determination of hazard
When determining whether a wreck poses a hazard, the following criteria should be taken into account by the Affected State:
(a) the type, size and construction of the wreck;
(b) depth of the water in the area;
(c) tidal range and currents in the area;
(d) particularly sensitive sea areas identified and, as appropriate, designated in accordance with guidelines adopted by the Organization, or a clearly defined area of the exclusive economic zone where special mandatory measures have been adopted pursuant to article 211, paragraph 6, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982;
(e) proximity of shipping routes or established traffic lanes;
(f) traffic density and frequency;
(g) type of traffic;
(h) nature and quantity of the wreck’s cargo, the amount and types of oil (such as bunker oil and lubricating oil) on board the wreck and, in particular, the damage likely to result should the cargo or oil be released into the marine environment;
(i) vulnerability of port facilities;
(j) prevailing meteorological and hydrographical conditions;
(k) submarine topography of the area;
(l) height of the wreck above or below the surface of the water at lowest astronomical tide;
(m) acoustic and magnetic profiles of the wreck;
(n) proximity of offshore installations, pipelines, telecommunications cables and similar structures; and
(o) any other circumstances that might necessitate the removal of the wreck.
1 Upon becoming aware of a wreck, the Affected State shall use all practicable means, including the good offices of States and organizations, to warn mariners and the States concerned of the nature and location of the wreck as a matter of urgency.
2 If the Affected State has reason to believe that a wreck poses a hazard, it shall ensure that all practicable steps are taken to establish the precise location of the wreck.
Marking of wrecks
1 If the Affected State determines that a wreck constitutes a hazard, that State shall ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to mark the wreck.
2 In marking the wreck, all practicable steps shall be taken to ensure that the markings conform to the internationally accepted system of buoyage in use in the area where the wreck is located.
3 The Affected State shall promulgate the particulars of the marking of the wreck by use of all appropriate means, including the appropriate nautical publications.
Measures to facilitate the removal of wrecks
1 If the Affected State determines that a wreck constitutes a hazard, that State shall immediately:
(a) inform the State of the ship’s registry and the registered owner; and
(b) proceed to consult the State of the ship’s registry and other States affected by the wreck regarding measures to be taken in relation to the wreck.
2 The registered owner shall remove a wreck determined to constitute a hazard.
3 When a wreck has been determined to constitute a hazard, the registered owner, or other interested party, shall provide the competent authority of the Affected State with evidence of insurance or other financial security as required by article 12.
4 The registered owner may contract with any salvor or other person to remove the wreck determined to constitute a hazard on behalf of the owner. Before such removal commences, the Affected State may lay down conditions for such removal only to the extent necessary to ensure that the removal proceeds in a manner that is consistent with considerations of safety and protection of the marine environment.
5 When the removal referred to in paragraphs 2 and 4 has commenced, the Affected State may intervene in the removal only to the extent necessary to ensure that the removal proceeds effectively in a manner that is consistent with considerations of safety and protection of the marine environment.
6 The Affected State shall:
(a) set a reasonable deadline within which the registered owner must remove the wreck, taking into account the nature of the hazard determined in accordance with article 6;
(b) inform the registered owner in writing of the deadline it has set and specify that, if the registered owner does not remove the wreck within that deadline, it may remove the wreck at the registered owner’s expense; and
(c) inform the registered owner in writing that it intends to intervene immediately in circumstances where the hazard becomes particularly severe.
7 If the registered owner does not remove the wreck within the deadline set in accordance with paragraph 6(a), or the registered owner cannot be contacted, the Affected State may remove the wreck by the most practical and expeditious means available, consistent with considerations of safety and protection of the marine environment.
8 In circumstances where immediate action is required and the Affected State has informed the State of the ship’s registry and the registered owner accordingly, it may remove the wreck by the most practical and expeditious means available, consistent with considerations of safety and protection of the marine environment.
9 States Parties shall take appropriate measures under their national law to ensure that their registered owners comply with paragraphs 2 and 3.
10 States Parties give their consent to the Affected State to act under paragraphs 4 to 8, where required.
11 The information referred to in this article shall be provided by the Affected State to the registered owner identified in the reports referred to in article 5, paragraph 2.
Liability of the owner
1 Subject to article 11, the registered owner shall be liable for the costs of locating, marking and removing the wreck under articles 7, 8 and 9, respectively, unless the registered owner proves that the maritime casualty that caused the wreck:
(a) resulted from an act of war, hostilities, civil war, insurrection, or a natural phenomenon of an exceptional, inevitable and irresistible character;
(b) was wholly caused by an act or omission done with intent to cause damage by a third party; or
(c) was wholly caused by the negligence or other wrongful act of any Government or other authority responsible for the maintenance of lights or other navigational aids in the exercise of that function.
2 Nothing in this Convention shall affect the right of the registered owner to limit liability under any applicable national or international regime, such as the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976, as amended.
3 No claim for the costs referred to in paragraph 1 may be made against the registered owner otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of this Convention. This is without prejudice to the rights and obligations of a State Party that has made a notification under article 3, paragraph 2, in relation to wrecks located in its territory, including the territorial sea, other than locating, marking and removing in accordance with this Convention.
4 Nothing in this article shall prejudice any right of recourse against third parties.
Exceptions to liability
1 The registered owner shall not be liable under this Convention for the costs mentioned in article 10, paragraph 1 if, and to the extent that, liability for such costs would be in conflict with:
(a) the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1969, as amended;
(b) the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996, as amended;
(c) the Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear Energy, 1960, as amended, or the Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage, 1963, as amended; or national law governing or prohibiting limitation of liability for nuclear damage; or
(d) the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil Pollution Damage, 2001, as amended;
provided that the relevant convention is applicable and in force.
2 To the extent that measures under this Convention are considered to be salvage under applicable national law or an international convention, such law or convention shall apply to questions of the remuneration or compensation payable to salvors to the exclusion of the rules of this Convention.
Compulsory insurance or other financial security
1 The registered owner of a ship of 300 gross tonnage and above and flying the flag of a State Party shall be required to maintain insurance or other financial security, such as a guarantee of a bank or similar institution, to cover liability under this Convention in an amount equal to the limits of liability under the applicable national or international limitation regime, but in all cases not exceeding an amount calculated in accordance with article 6(1)(b) of the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976, as amended.
2 A certificate attesting that insurance or other financial security is in force in accordance with the provisions of this Convention shall be issued to each ship of 300 gross tonnage and above by the appropriate authority of the State of the ship’s registry after determining that the requirements of paragraph 1 have been complied with. With respect to a ship registered in a State Party, such certificate shall be issued or certified by the appropriate authority of the State of the ship’s registry; with respect to a ship not registered in a State Party it may be issued or certified by the appropriate authority of any State Party. This compulsory insurance certificate shall be in the form of the model set out in the annex to this Convention, and shall contain the following particulars:
(a) name of the ship, distinctive number or letters and port of registry;
(b) gross tonnage of the ship;
(c) name and principal place of business of the registered owner;
(d) IMO ship identification number;
(e) type and duration of security;
(f) name and principal place of business of insurer or other person giving security and, where appropriate, place of business where the insurance or security is established; and
(g) period of validity of the certificate, which shall not be longer than the period of validity of the insurance or other security.
3 (a) A State Party may authorize either an institution or an organization recognized by it to issue the certificate referred to in paragraph 2. Such institution or organization shall inform that State of the issue of each certificate. In all cases, the State Party shall fully guarantee the completeness and accuracy of the certificate so issued and shall undertake to ensure the necessary arrangements to satisfy this obligation.
(b) A State Party shall notify the Secretary-General of:
(i) the specific responsibilities and conditions of the authority delegated to an institution or organization recognized by it;
(ii) the withdrawal of such authority; and
(iii) the date from which such authority or withdrawal of such authority takes effect.
An authority delegated shall not take effect prior to three months from the date on which notification to that effect was given to the Secretary-General.
(c) The institution or organization authorized to issue certificates in accordance with this paragraph shall, as a minimum, be authorized to withdraw these certificates if the conditions under which they have been issued are not maintained. In all cases the institution or organization shall report such withdrawal to the State on whose behalf the certificate was issued.
4 The certificate shall be in the official language or languages of the issuing State. If the language used is not English, French or Spanish, the text shall include a translation into one of these languages and, where the State so decides, the official language(s) of the State may be omitted.
5 The certificate shall be carried on board the ship and a copy shall be deposited with the authorities who keep the record of the ship’s registry or, if the ship is not registered in a State Party, with the authorities issuing or certifying the certificate.
6 An insurance or other financial security shall not satisfy the requirements of this article if it can cease for reasons other than the expiry of the period of validity of the insurance or security specified in the certificate under paragraph 2 before three months have elapsed from the date on which notice of its termination is given to the authorities referred to in paragraph 5 unless the certificate has been surrendered to these authorities or a new certificate has been issued within the said period. The foregoing provisions shall similarly apply to any modification, which results in the insurance or security no longer satisfying the requirements of this article.
7 The State of the ship’s registry shall, subject to the provisions of this article and having regard to any guidelines adopted by the Organization on the financial responsibility of the registered owners, determine the conditions of issue and validity of the certificate.
8 Nothing in this Convention shall be construed as preventing a State Party from relying on information obtained from other States or the Organization or other international organizations relating to the financial standing of providers of insurance or financial security for the purposes of this Convention. In such cases, the State Party relying on such information is not relieved of its responsibility as a State issuing the certificate required by paragraph 2.
9 Certificates issued and certified under the authority of a State Party shall be accepted by other States Parties for the purposes of this Convention and shall be regarded by other States Parties as having the same force as certificates issued or certified by them, even if issued or certified in respect of a ship not registered in a State Party. A State Party may at any time request consultation with the issuing or certifying State should it believe that the insurer or guarantor named in the certificate is not financially capable of meeting the obligations imposed by this Convention.
10 Any claim for costs arising under this Convention may be brought directly against the insurer or other person providing financial security for the registered owner’s liability. In such a case the defendant may invoke the defences (other than the bankruptcy or winding up of the registered owner) that the registered owner would have been entitled to invoke, including limitation of liability under any applicable national or international regime. Furthermore, even if the registered owner is not entitled to limit liability, the defendant may limit liability to an amount equal to the amount of the insurance or other financial security required to be maintained in accordance with paragraph 1. Moreover, the defendant may invoke the defence that the maritime casualty was caused by the wilful misconduct of the registered owner, but the defendant shall not invoke any other defence which the defendant might have been entitled to invoke in proceedings brought by the registered owner against the defendant. The defendant shall in any event have the right to require the registered owner to be joined in the proceedings.
11 A State Party shall not permit any ship entitled to fly its flag to which this article applies to operate at any time unless a certificate has been issued under paragraphs 2 or 14.
12 Subject to the provisions of this article, each State Party shall ensure, under its national law, that insurance or other security to the extent required by paragraph 1 is in force in respect of any ship of 300 gross tonnage and above, wherever registered, entering or leaving a port in its territory, or arriving at or leaving from an offshore facility in its territorial sea.
13 Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 5, a State Party may notify the Secretary-General that, for the purposes of paragraph 12, ships are not required to carry on board or to produce the certificate required by paragraph 2, when entering or leaving a port in its territory, or arriving at or leaving from an offshore facility in its territorial sea, provided that the State Party which issues the certificate required by paragraph 2 has notified the Secretary-General that it maintains records in an electronic format, accessible to all States Parties, attesting the existence of the certificate and enabling States Parties to discharge their obligations under paragraph 12.
14 If insurance or other financial security is not maintained in respect of a ship owned by a State Party, the provisions of this article relating thereto shall not be applicable to such ship, but the ship shall carry a certificate issued by the appropriate authority of the State of registry, stating that it is owned by that State and that the ship’s liability is covered within the limits prescribed in paragraph 1. Such a certificate shall follow as closely as possible the model prescribed by paragraph 2.
Rights to recover costs under this Convention shall be extinguished unless an action is brought hereunder within three years from the date when the hazard has been determined in accordance with this Convention. However, in no case shall an action be brought after six years from the date of the maritime casualty that resulted in the wreck. Where the maritime casualty consists of a series of occurrences, the six-year period shall run from the date of the first occurrence.
Relationship to other conventions and international agreements
1 At the request of not less than one-third of States Parties, a conference shall be convened by the Organization for the purpose of revising or amending this Convention.
2 Any consent to be bound by this Convention, expressed after the date of entry into force of an amendment to this Convention, shall be deemed to apply to this Convention, as amended.
Settlement of disputes
1 Where a dispute arises between two or more States Parties regarding the interpretation or application of this Convention, they shall seek to resolve their dispute, in the first instance, through negotiation, enquiry, mediation, conciliation, arbitration, judicial settlement, resort to regional agencies or arrangements or other peaceful means of their choice.
2 If no settlement is possible within a reasonable period of time not exceeding twelve months after one State Party has notified another that a dispute exists between them, the provisions relating to the settlement of disputes set out in Part XV of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, shall apply mutatis mutandis, whether or not the States party to the dispute are also States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982.
3 Any procedure chosen by a State Party to this Convention and to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, pursuant to Article 287 of the latter, shall apply to the settlement of disputes under this article, unless that State Party, when ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to this Convention, or at any time thereafter, chooses another procedure pursuant to Article 287 for the purpose of the settlement of disputes arising out of this Convention.
4 A State Party to this Convention which is not a Party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, when ratifying, accepting, approving or acceding to this Convention or at any time thereafter shall be free to choose, by means of a written declaration, one or more of the means set out in Article 287, paragraph 1, of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, for the purpose of settlement of disputes under this Article. Article 287 shall apply to such a declaration, as well as to any dispute to which such State is party, which is not covered by a declaration in force. For the purpose of conciliation and arbitration, in accordance with Annexes V and VII of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, such State shall be entitled to nominate conciliators and arbitrators to be included in the lists referred to in Annex V, Article 2, and Annex VII, Article 2, for the settlement of disputes arising out of this Convention.
5 A declaration made under paragraphs 3 and 4 shall be deposited with the Secretary-General, who shall transmit copies thereof to the States Parties.
Relationship to other conventions and international agreements
Nothing in this Convention shall prejudice the rights and obligations of any State under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982, and under the customary international law of the sea.
Signature, ratification, acceptance, approval and accession
1 This Convention shall be open for signature at the Headquarters of the Organization from 19 November 2007 until 18 November 2008 and shall thereafter remain open for accession.
(a) States may express their consent to be bound by this Convention by:
(i) signature without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval; or
(ii) signature subject to ratification, acceptance or approval, followed by ratification, acceptance or approval; or
(b) Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument to that effect with the Secretary-General.
Entry into force
1 This Convention shall enter into force twelve months following the date on which ten States have either signed it without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval or have deposited instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the Secretary-General.
2 For any State which ratifies, accepts, approves or accedes to this Convention after the conditions in paragraph 1 for entry into force have been met, this Convention shall enter into force three months following the date of deposit by such State of the appropriate instrument, but not before this Convention has entered into force in accordance with paragraph 1.
1 This Convention may be denounced by a State Party at any time after the expiry of one year following the date on which this Convention comes into force for that State.
2 Denunciation shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument to that effect with the Secretary-General.
3 A denunciation shall take effect one year, or such longer period as may be specified in the instrument of denunciation, following its receipt by the Secretary-General.
1 This Convention shall be deposited with the Secretary General.
2 The Secretary-General shall:
(a) inform all States which have signed or acceded to this Convention of:
(i) each new signature or deposit of an instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, together with the date thereof;
(ii) the date of entry into force of this Convention;
(iii) the deposit of any instrument of denunciation of this Convention, together with the date of the deposit and the date on which the denunciation takes effect; and
(iv) other declarations and notifications received pursuant to this Convention;
(b) transmit certified true copies of this Convention to all States that have signed or acceded to this Convention.
3 As soon as this Convention enters into force, a certified true copy of the text shall be transmitted by the Secretary-General to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, for registration and publication in accordance with Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations.
This Convention is established in a single original in the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish languages, each text being equally authentic.
DONE IN NAIROBI this eighteenth day of May two thousand and seven.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF the undersigned, being duly authorized by their respective Governments for that purpose, have signed this Convention.
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