HNS Convention

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Scope of application:

1) Damage in the territory, including the territorial sea, of a State Party; 

2) Damage by contamination of the environment caused in the exclusive economic zone of a State Party, 

3) To damage, other than damage by contamination of the environment, caused outside the territory, including the territorial sea, of any State, if this damage has been caused by a substance carried on board a ship registered in a State Party or, in the case of an unregistered ship, on board a ship entitled to fly the flag of a State Party; and

4) To preventive measures, wherever taken. 

Not applicable:

•Pollution damage as per CLC, 1969, as amended and 

•Damage caused by a radioactive material of class 7 

•Warships, naval auxiliary or other ships owned or operated by a State and used, for the time being, only on Government non-commercial service.

Declaration by member state

Member state to declare that this Convention does not apply to ships: 

a) Less than 200 gross tonnage 

b) Carry hazardous and noxious substances only in packaged form; and  

c) Engaged on voyages between ports or facilities of that State.  

Such declaration to be submitted to secretary general who will communicate to director after the convention will come into force.   

HNS fund not liable to pay for damage caused by ships not applicable by this convention. 

Liability of ship’s owner

Owner liable for damage caused by any HNS in connection with their carriage by sea on board the ship, provided that if an incident consists of a series of occurrences having the same origin the liability shall attach to the owner at the time of the first of such occurrences. 

Owner’s not liable for damage if due

a) An act of war, hostilities, civil war, insurrection or a natural phenomenon or

b) An act or omission done with the intent to cause damage by a third party; or 

c) 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; or 

d) Intentional act of person suffering damage 

e) Failure of shipper to furnish information concerning HNS substances necessary for shipment which result into damage .

Persons not liable for compensation

a) Servant or agent of owner or member of crew.

b) Pilot not member of crew.

c) Charterer, manager or operators of ship.

d) Salvors performing salvage operations with consent of owners.

e) Person taking preventive measures.

f)  If damage is not reasonably separable then owners are jointly and severally liable.

Limitation of liability


a) For 2001 to 50000 G.T. = 1500 SDR per ton 

b) For > 50000 G.T = 360 SDR per ton  

In excess of 10 millions SDR

a) 10 millions SDR for ship upto 2000 G.T. 

In any case maximum 100 millions SDR

Owner not entitled for limitation if damage from his intentional act.

Constitution of fund

a) To get benefit of limitation owner to constitute fund for total sum representing limit of liability. 

b) Fund can be constituted by depositing such sum or producing bank guarantee or other guarantee as acceptable by the law of state party.   

 Compulsory insurance of owner  

a) Owner of ship carrying HNS required to have compulsory insurance or other financial security like bank guarantee or other financial institution guarantee.

b) A compulsory insurance certificate attesting that insurance or other financial security in force to be issued to ship after complying the provision of convention. 

Implementation of the HNS Convention and the 2010 Protocol

The entry into force of the 2010 HNS Convention continues to feature on the agenda of the IMO Legal Committee meetings and 1992 Fund Assembly sessions. Both Secretariats regularly run workshops on the Convention and they, together with the HNS Correspondence Group, are taking the lead on ensuring States have all the necessary tools and information at hand to adopt and implement the 2010 HNS Convention as soon as possible. 

•The 2010 HNS Convention enters into force after 12 States (including 4 States with more than 2 million gross ship’s tonnage) with a total of 40 million of contributing HNS cargohave ratified the 2010 HNS Protocol

•Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, theNetherlands, Norwayand Turkeyhave signedthe 2010 HNS Protocolsubject to ratification


• Norway ratified on 21 April 2017

• Canada and Turkey ratified on 23 April 2018

• These Contracting States each have more than 2 million of gross ship’s tonnage.

• They received, in 2017, a total quantity of 28,713,155 million tonnes HNS Contributing Cargo (nearly 72% of the requirement)

• Need for 9 more countriesto ratify

• Only1 more State with more than two million gross ship’s tonnage.

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