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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Barcelona Conference on the key elements of the HNS Convention

A well-timed conference bringing together the main players from industry and government to discuss the key elements of the HNS Convention (The International Convention on Liability and Compensation For Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996) took place in Barcelona on 19 May 2004.

The Conference, which was sponsored by OCIMF, Total and Mare Forum, was chaired by John Wren, UK Department of Transport with INTERTANKO's Peter Swift, Richard Shaw of the University of Southampton, John Guy, Merlin Corporate Communications, and Chris Horrocks of the ICS chairing the four sessions of the day.

In the session chaired by Peter Swift, presentations overviewing the HNS Convention were given and the principles of the Convention as well as the implementation process and the relation to the EU Environmental Directive were explained. The Director of the IOPC Fund, Måns Jacobsson, provided an overview of the preparations for the entry into force of the HNS Convention, as the IOPC Fund has been tasked with administering the new HNS Fund. He explained the operation of an international fund in the light of the IOPC Fund's experience and the interrelationship between various liability and compensation conventions.

In the session chaired by Richard Shaw, speakers explored some main issues which needed further explanation for all not intimately involved with the development of the Convention. Willem Oosterveen from the Dutch Ministry of Justice clarified key issues around the provisions determining exactly who on the cargo receiver side would be required to report to and pay contributions to the HNS Fund.

Jerry Rysanek of the Canadian Government provided a report on the national reporting requirements and offered a solution to some of the difficult issues, suggesting that a harmonisation of reporting requirements would provide for a fair and equitable system between contributors in different States.

In the session chaired by John Guy, Professor Røsæg from the Scandinavian Institute of Maritime Law explained how the system with separate accounts for LNG, LPG and oil were intended to work and Danny Scorpecci of the Transport Division of the OECD talked about the differentiation of contributing cargo and outlined differences applying to LNG and LPG.

Finally, Catherine Grey of the IOPC Fund presented a very advanced and user-friendly computer tool the IOPC Fund had developed to assist nations and contributors.

Main presenters in the session on Insurance and incident response, chaired by Chris Horrocks of the ICS, were CEFIC's Legal Counsel Patrick Wegerdt, who spoke about insurance and insurance certificates, Michel Girin of CEDRE, who presented major HNS incidents in European waters over the last two decades, and Dr. Karen Purnell of ITOPF, who talked about ratification of the HNS Protocol to the Oil Pollution Response Convention and anti-pollution preparedness.

The overall conclusion of the conference was that all players - government and industry -need to move quickly to implement the HNS Convention, governments by ratifying and preparing domestic legislation and industry by preparing for the practical implementation.

Contact: Svein Ringbakken