Norway has become the first country to give formal consent to a compensation treaty that covers the transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by ship.

The new treaty is known as the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea (2010 HNS Convention), and aims to provide concrete procedures for assessing liability and compensation for damage caused by HNS cargoes being transported by sea.

It will also complement the existing initiatives already in force for the transport of oil as cargo, bunker oil used for the operation and propulsion of vessels.

In addition, the treaty will ensure the removal of hazardous wrecks and claims for passenger death or personal injury, as well as claims related to damage to luggage.

Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries State Secretary Dilek Ayhan has handed over the instrument of ratification to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which is designated by the United Nations (UN) to ensure the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

"I urge all States to follow the example set by Norway and consider acceding to the HNS 2010 treaty as soon as possible."

IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim said: “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.

“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 recognise 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.”

Norway has also provided data relating to the total quantities of contributing cargo liable for contributions received in the country during the previous calendar year, as per the requirements of the new treaty.

Image: Norwegian ministry of trade, industry and fisheries state secretary Dilek Ayhan (R) hands over the instrument of ratification of the 2010 HNS Protocol to IMO secretary-general Kitack Lim (L). Photo: courtesy of International Maritime Organization.