International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea

General Information

  1. Type: Convention
  2. Date of signature:
  3. Place of signature: London, United Kingdom
  4. Depositary:
  5. Date of entry into force: N/A

Category

Environment and products

Sub category

Maritime and Law of the Sea

Groups

IMO

What is it about?

This instrument establishes uniform international rules and procedures for determining questions of liability and compensation related to damage caused during sea accidents. Included are such noxious substances as chemicals, liquefied gas, radioactive materials, etc. The Convention only applies to ships that exceed 200 tonnes. A liability scale applies depending upon the tonnage of the vessel. All liability is fixed at a maximum of 100 million units of account. A “unit of account" means the Special Drawing Right as defined by the International Monetary Fund. The owners of vessels are required to have insurance against such accidents. The Convention creates and requires participation in the International Hazardous and Noxious Substances Fund (HNS Fund). Maritime professionals and the chemical industry contribute. This Fund seeks to avoid the bankruptcy of ship-owners and to facilitate compensation for victims of pollution.

Why is it relevant?

State parties to the 1996 Convention allow their population affected by substances other than oil pollution to be compensated without having to undertake long and complex judicial procedures. The money paid can serve to compensate in part the losses created by the pollution and lack of earnings in fishing and tourism.

Additional Information

The HNS Fund is managed by an Assembly composed of State Parties to the Convention of 1996 and by a Secretariat under the control of the International Maritime Organization. In 2003, four States, representing two percent of the world fleet, ratified the 1996 Convention.

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