Wreck removal in a nutshell: the Nairobi Convention

4 Авг

Настоящая публикация посвящена Найробийской международной конвенции 2007 года об удалении обломков кораблекрушений (NWRC). Автор отвечает на некоторые часто задаваемые вопросы по NWRC. В частности: сфера применения и ответственность по NWRC, а также возможность ограничения такой ответственности. В заключение автор отмечает, что важнейшим достижением NWRC является международная унификация правил ответственности за удаление обломков, представляющих опасность.

Wreck removal in a nutshell: the Nairobi Convention

The Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention 2007 (NWRC) is an international
convention that provides the basis for states to remove shipwrecks that
may have the potential to adversely affect the safety of lives, goods and
property at sea, as well as the marine environment. The NWRC was
adopted in 2007 at an international conference in Kenya and came into
force in 2015. Presently, there are 53 State Parties to the NWRC, covering
roughly 76% of the world’s tonnage.
The NWRC has a wide range of mechanisms aimed at the removal of wrecks that may pose a hazard to navigation or
the marine environment and its articles cover the following:
• reporting, locating and marking wrecks (Articles 5, 7, and 8);
• criteria for determining whether a wreck poses a hazard (Article 6);
• measures to facilitate the removal of wrecks as well as the rights and obligations in this respect (Article 9);
• liability of the registered owner for the costs involved in locating, marking and removing wrecks (Articles 10 and 11);
• requirements for compulsory insurance or other financial security (Article 12); and
• settlement of disputes between states (Article 15).
With this circular, MS Amlin would like to answer some FAQ about the NWRC.

To what does the NWRC apply and who is responsible?
It applies to wrecks located in the Convention area (see Q2 below). In this regard the NWRC permits a State
Party to take measures to facilitate the removal of wrecks that pose a hazard to navigation or the marine
environment. It is the registered owner of the ship involved in a maritime casualty and resulting in a wreck, who
is responsible to remove such wreck.
• “Ship” means a seagoing vessel of any type whatsoever and includes hydrofoil boats, air-cushion
vehicles, submersibles, floating craft, floating platforms, except when such platforms are on location
engaged in the exploration, exploitation or production of seabed mineral resources.
• “Wreck” means a sunken or stranded ship or any part of it including any object that is or has been
on board such ship; any object that is lost at sea from a ship and that is stranded, sunken or adrift
at sea; or 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.
• “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.
Where does the NWRC apply?
It applies in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of a State Party established in accordance with international
law. If an EEZ is not established, then the NWRC applies in an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea
of that State Party and extending not more than 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth
of its territorial sea is measured.
The NWRC does not apply to territorial waters unless a State Party has expressly extended the application of
the NWRC to its territory including the territorial sea.

Presently, the State Parties to the NWRC are:
Albania1 Comoros1 Iran Nauru Saint Vincent
and the Grenadines1
Antigua & Barbuda1 Croatia1 Japan1 Netherlands1,4
Bahamas1 Cyprus1 Jordan Nigeria Saudi Arabia
Belarus Denmark1,3 Kenya1 Niue1 Sierra Leone
Belgium Estonia1 Korea (DPRK) Oman1 Singapore
Belize1 Finland1 Liberia1 Palau South Africa
Bulgaria1 France1 Madagascar Panama1 Sweden1
Canada1 Gabon Malaysia Portugal Switzerland
China2 Germany Malta1 Romania Tonga
Congo Guyana Marshall Islands1
Saint Kitts
and Nevis
Cook Islands India Morocco United Kingdom

1 Extension to territory and territorial sea

2 Excluding Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China

3 Excluding the Faroes and Greenland

4 Including the European part of the Netherlands and the Caribbean part of the Netherlands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba)

5 Including the Isle of Man (excluding territorial waters) as well as Gibraltar and the Cayman Islands (including territorial waters)
Source: IMO
What is the liability under the NWRC?
The registered owner shall be liable for the costs of locating, marking and removing a wreck. Liability is strict,
which means that a claimant does not need to show fault of the registered owner.
The registered owner is only able to escape liability under the NWRC if he can prove that the maritime casualty
that caused the wreck:
• resulted from an act of war, hostilities, civil war, insurrection, or a natural phenomenon of an exceptional,
inevitable and irresistible character;
• was wholly caused by an act or omission done by a third party with intent to cause damage; or
• 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.
Can liability under the NWRC be limited?
The registered owner can limit liability in accordance with the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime
Claims 1976 (LLMC), as amended.
However, states ratifying the LLMC can make a reservation against LLMC applying to wreck removal. Some
State Parties have indeed notified the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) of a reservation of their right to
legislate for unlimited liability in respect of wreck removal. In those jurisdictions, registered owner cannot limit
their liabilities arising under the NWRC.
In the event of doubt whether clients may be involved in a maritime casualty taking place in any such
jurisdiction, please contact MS Amlin for assistance.
Should a Blue Card be issued under the NWRC?
Yes, for ships of 300 gross tonnage and above that are flying the flag of a State Party or entering or leaving a
port in its territory, it is compulsory to maintain insurance or other financial security to cover their liability under
the NWRC. Such compulsory insurance or financial security is attested by a Certificate issued by the flag
state to the ship (Certificate of Insurance or Other Financial Security in Respect of Liability for the Removal of
Wrecks). The Certificate shall be carried on board the ship, and it is issued on the basis of a Blue Card, which
a registered owner can obtain from their P&I insurer or financial guarantor as a confirmation that the required
insurance or financial security is in place.
Such a compulsory insurance regime can be found also in other IMO liability conventions, such as the Civil
Liability Convention (CLC), the Bunker Convention, and the Athens Convention for the carriage of passengers.

Are P&I insurers liable to claimants other than the registered owner?
Yes, any claim under the NWRC can be brought directly against the insurer or financial guarantor providing
security for the registered owner’s liability under the Blue Card. Thus, the insurer is responsible for the
registered owner’s NWRC liabilities and can be subject to direct action by third-party claimants.
In such an event, the insurer can rely on the defences available to the registered owner including the right to
limit liability (see Q3 and Q4 above), and even if the registered owner is not entitled to limit their liability, the
insurer may still limit liability to the amount of the insurance. However, the insurer cannot rely on any defences
or exclusions set in the insurance policy with the exception of wilful misconduct of the registered owner.

The NWRC as summarised above, provides a set of uniform international rules governing responsibility and liability for
removal of hazardous wrecks. As such, not only does it facilitate the prompt and effective removal of wrecks, but it also
creates predictability and certainty for the maritime sector in the unfortunate event of a maritime casualty.
For more information on the NWRC, please visit the IMO dedicated page:

Автор: Ilian Djadjev
Источник: https://www.msamlin.com/content/dam/ms-amlin/consumer/Marine-and-Aviation/p-and-i-circular/The%20Nairobi%20Convention%20-%20July%202020.pdf.downloadasset.pdf