France has become the latest country to accept amendments to the Convention on the International Maritime Organization (IMO).  

At the same time, France deposited its instrument of accession to the treaty which covers liability and compensation for the transport of hazardous and noxious substances (HNS) by ships. 

Both deposits were made by Her Excellency Mrs. Marine de Carné-Trécesson, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of France, during a meeting with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim (23 October).     

The amendments to the IMO Convention, which will expand the size of the Council from 40 to 52, extend the term of Council Members, and recognize three additional language texts as authentic versions of the Convention, were adopted at the 32nd session of the IMO Assembly in December 2021. They require acceptance by two thirds of the IMO Membership – that is, 117 Member States of the current 175 - for entry into force to take place. France’s deposition of its instrument of accession takes the total number of States to have done so to 19.  

See the current list of IMO Council members here


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France becomes the seventh Contracting State to the 2010 Protocol to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, otherwise known as the HNS Convention. It signals an important step towards entry into force of the 2010 HNS Convention. 

Upon entry into force, the treaty will provide a regime of liability and compensation for damage caused by HNS cargoes transported by sea, including oil and chemicals. It covers not only pollution damage, but also the risks of fire and explosion, including loss of life or personal injury as well as loss of, or damage to, property. Read more here.  

For the Convention to enter into force, two criteria must be met:  

  • ratification by 12 States, including four States each with not less than two million units of gross tonnage; and 
  • a total quantity of at least 40 million tonnes of contributing cargo. Current contributing cargo tonnage is approximately 17 million tonnes.  

It is hoped that France’s deposit will act as an incentive for other western European States to ratify soon, thus fulfilling the HNS Convention’s entry into force requirements.  

IMO has been working closely with the International Oil Pollution Compensation Funds (IOPC Funds) to encourage ratification of the 2010 HNS Convention. IOPC Funds Director, Gaute Sivertsen, was present for the deposit by France. 


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Issue 87 of Robban Assafina

(Sept./ Oct. 2023)


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