The HNS convention - Why it is needed

The transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by sea is a vital trade. Chemicals and other products underpin many manufacturing processes and IMO regulations ensure their safe transport. However, incidents do happen and the HNS Convention is the last piece in the puzzle needed to ensure that those who have suffered damage have access to a comprehensive and international liability and compensation regime.

HNS covered by the Convention are defined by references to various IMO Conventions and Codes. These include: oils; other liquid substances defined as noxious or dangerous; liquefied gases; liquid substances  with a flashpoint not exceeding 60˚C; dangerous, hazardous and harmful materials and substances carried in packaged form or in containers; and solid bulk materials defined as possessing chemical hazards.

The current HNS Convention was adopted in 2010, amending a previous instrument that had been adopted in 1996. However, the 2010 HNS Convention has still not entered into force; States must ratify it before this can happen.

Together with the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) and the International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF), IMO has produced a six-page brochure that explains the benefits of the convention and encourages the next steps for States to implement and accede to the convention.

The brochure is available to download here, or alternatively on the IMO's website in English, French and Spanish.

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