International Convention On The Removal Of Wrecks, 2007

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ARTICLE 1 – DEFINITIONS

Convention Area — means EEZ established by a State in accordance with International law, or  an area beyond and adjacent to territorial sea determined by the State in accordance with International law, and extending upto ≤ 200 miles from the baseline from where territorial sea is measured.

Wreck — means the following resulting from a maritime casualty :

· Sunken or stranded ship or any part thereof or any object there from.

· Stranded, sunken or adrift object lost at sea from a ship.

· Ship which is about to sink or strand, where effective assistance is not already being taken.

Hazard — means any condition which —

· Poses danger or impediment to navigation.

· May result in major harmful consequences to marine environment or coastline or related interests such as port, estuaries, fisheries, tourism, health of coastal population, marine living resources, wildlife, offshore and underwater infrastructure, and other economic interests.

Operator of ship — means owner, or manager or bareboat charterer who has assumed duties and responsibilities from the owner under the ISM Code.

Affected State — means the State in whose area the wreck is located. 

 ARTICLE 2 — OBJECTIVES AND GENERAL PRINCIPLES

· Affected State may take reasonable and necessary measures, proportionate to the hazard posed by a wreck in the convention area, without interfering with the rights and interests of other States and persons.

· Affected State shall cooperate with other involved States.

· This convention shall not entitle a State to claim sovereignty over any part of the high seas, except its territorial sea. 

ARTICLES 3 AND 4 — SCOPE OF APPLICATION AND EXCLUSIONS

· Convention shall apply to wrecks in the convention area.

· State may extend the application to its territorial sea by notifying the IMO, in which case certain parts of Articles 2 and 9 shall not apply.

· State may take measures, other than locating, marking and removing a wreck in its territorial sea. Articles 10, 11 and 12 shall not apply to such measures.

· Convention shall not apply to measures taken under IMO “Intervention on the High Seas” Convention and its Protocol.

· It shall not apply to warship or ship owned or operated by a State on government non-commercial service, unless that State decides otherwise, in which case it shall notify IMO.

ARTICLE 5 — REPORTING WRECKS

· Flag State shall require either the Master or operator of its ship to report to the Affected State when that ship is involved in a casualty which results in a wreck.

· Following information shall be provided : 

· Name and principal place of business of the owner.

· Precise location of wreck.

· Its type, size and construction.

· Nature of damage to, and condition of the wreck.

· Nature and quantity of cargo, particularly hazardous and noxious substances.

· Amount and types of oil, including bunkers, on board.

ARTICLE 6 — DETERMINATION OF HAZARD

Affected State shall take following criteria into account when determining whether a wreck poses a hazard :

· Its type, size and construction.

· Depth of water in the area.

· Tidal range and currents.

· “Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas” designated by Res. A.982(24).

· An area within EEZ where special mandatory measures have been adopted pursuant to UNCLOS.

· Proximity of shipping routes and traffic lanes.

· Traffic density and frequency.

· Type of traffic.

· Nature and quantity of cargo, amount and types of oil on board, and the likely damage to the environment if these are released.

· Vulnerability of port.

· Prevailing meteorological and hydrographical conditions.

· Submarine topography of the area.

· Height of wreck above or below water at lowest tide.

· Acoustic and magnetic profiles of the wreck.

· Proximity of offshore installations, pipelines, telecommunication cables, etc.

ARTICLE 7 — LOCATING WRECKS

Affected State shall urgently use all practicable means to warn mariners and States about the nature and precise location of wreck.

ARTICLE 8 — MARKING OF WRECKS

If the wreck constitutes a hazard, the Affected State shall mark it by International system of buoyage, and promulgate the particulars by all appropriate means, including the nautical publications.

ARTICLE 9 — MEASURES TO FACILITATE THE REMOVAL OF WRECKS

If Affected State determines that a wreck constitutes a hazard then it shall take following steps 

  1. Inform the Flag State  and owner of ship about details of wreck as stated in Article 5.
  2. Consult them and other States  affected by it, regarding measures to be taken.
  3. Receive the evidence of insurance from owner as required by Article 12.
  4. May lay down conditions for its removal, consistent with the safety and protection of environment.
  5. May intervene during removal process as necessary for the safety and protection of environment, if the hazard becomes particularly severe.
  6. Set a deadline for its removal,depending on nature of the hazard, and inform the owner.
  7. If owner does not remove the wreck within the deadline, the Affected State may remove it at owner’s expense.

· Flag State shall take following steps :

  1. Make laws to ensure that the owner removes the wreck.
  2. Give consent to the Affected State to act as stated above.

· Owner shall take following steps :

  1. Remove the wreck, may be by contracting the work to any salvor or person.
  2. Provide evidence of insurance to the Affected State as required by Article 12.

ARTICLES 10 AND 11 — LIABILITY OF THE OWNER AND EXCEPTIONS

Owner shall be liable for costs of locating, marking and removing the wreck except if the casualty that caused the wreck was due to the following circumstances :

  1. Act of war, hostilities, civil war, insurrection, or a natural phenomena of exceptional, inevitable or irresistible character.
  2. Sabotage by a third party.
  3. Negligence of government or other authority responsible for maintenance of navigational aids.
  4. If liability conflicts with the following conventions :
  • CLC convention.
  • Convention on liability and compensation for damage in connection with carriage of HNS, 1996.
  • Convention on third party liability in the field of nuclear energy, 1960.
  • Vienna convention on civil liability for nuclear damage, 1963.
  • Bunker convention.
  • Owner shall be able to limit his liability under any National or International law, like the IMO “Maritime Claims” convention.

This convention shall not apply to compensation payable to salvors if the work done by them is considered to be salvage under National or International laws. 

These Articles shall not apply to measures taken by State in relation to the wreck in its territorial sea, other than locating, marking and removing the wreck, as given in Article 3. 

ARTICLE 12 — COMPULSORY INSURANCE OR OTHER FINANCIAL SECURITY

· Owner of a ship of GT ≥ 300 tons shall maintain insurance or other financial security like bank guarantee, to cover his liability under this convention, equal to limit of liability under National or International laws, but ≤ limit calculated in accordance with IMO “Maritime Claims” convention.

· Flag State shall issue certificate to the ship attesting that above requirement is complied with.

· Certificate shall be in the prescribed form and contain following information :

  1. · Name of ship and its port of registry.
  2. · GT
  3. · Name of owner and his principal place of business.
  4. · IMO number.
  5. · Type and duration of security.
  6. · Name of insurer and his principal place of business.
  7. · Validity of certificate ≤ validity of insurance, as decided by Flag State.

· Flag State may authorize RO to issue the certificate but the State shall fully guarantee its completeness and accuracy, and inform IMO about the responsibilities and conditions of authority delegated to the RO.

· RO shall be authorized to withdraw the certificate if the required conditions are not maintained, and shall inform the Flag State about it.

· Certificate may be in official language of the Flag State, and shall also be translated in English, French or Spanish.

· Certificate shall be carried on board, without which the ship cannot sail, and a copy shall be deposited with ship’s Registrar.

· State can rely on the information obtained from other States about the financial standing of the insurer, but it shall still remain responsible for issuing the certificate.

· Claim may be brought directly against the insurer who can limit the liability as per laws stated above. Insurer can also invoke the defence that the casualty was caused by willful misconduct of the owner.

· Port State shall check that the insurance is in force before the ship enters or leaves the port.

· The certificate need not be carried on board if the Flag State maintains it in electronic form which is accessible to all States, and IMO is notified about it.

· If insurance is not maintained for a ship owned by a State then this Article shall not apply. But the State shall issue a certificate in the same format, stating that the liability of ship is covered up to its limit.

ARTICLE 13 — TIME LIMITS

 · Right to recover costs under this convention shall be extinguished unless action is brought within 3 years after the hazard was determined.

· Action cannot be brought after 6 years from the date of casualty. 

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