New Japanese regulation on the prevention and elimination of pollution by Hazardous Noxious Substances (HNS)

In June 2006, Japanese domestic law relating to the Prevention of Marine Pollution and Maritime Disaster was revised to adopt the OPRC-HNS Protocol.

 

From 1 April 2008, it became compulsory for HNS tankers, when sailing within specified areas (Tokyo Bay, Ise Bay, Seto Inland Sea including Osaka Bay) to secure materials, equipment and the necessary expert advice for the prevention and elimination of HNS spills at appropriate locations along the voyage route. Japan has imposed a fine of up to JPY 500,000 for non-compliance with this requirement.

 

A pamphlet giving details of the requirements, including how the service works, the issuance and types of certificates and fees involved, may be accessed here or found on the web site of the Japanese Maritime Disaster Prevention Center: http://www.mdpc.or.jp/ (click on ‘English’).

 

Clarifying Information

As members will be aware the HNS Convention 1996 concerns liability, whereas the OPRC-HNS Protocol 2000 relates to a system of preparedness and response. It is the latter that this regulation addresses.

 

Japan is not party to the HNS Convention but it has acceded to the OPRC-HNS Protocol 2000. Subsequently Japanese domestic law relating to the Prevention of Marine Pollution and Maritime Disaster was amended in June 2006. 

 

With effect from 1 April 2008, the owner of a tanker over 150GT carrying an HNS cargo in bulk is requested to keep accident response materials/equipment etc. on board for the removal of HNS when the tanker navigates certain specified areas in Japanese waters. If the owner fails to do so, a fine of up to JPY 500,000 (approx USD 4,850) may be imposed.

 

The OPRC-HNS Protocol 2000 defines HNS cargo as:

 

Article 2 (2) Hazardous and noxious substances means any substance other than oil which, if introduced into the marine environment is likely to create hazards to human health, to harm living resources and marine life, to damage amenities or to interfere with other legitimate uses of the sea.

 

This Protocol extended the International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, 1990 (OPRC Convention) to HNS substances - so there was no need for the Protocol to cover oil as the OPRC Convention already addresses this. 

 

 

The HNS Convention 1996, defines HNS cargo more widely as follows:

 

“Hazardous and noxious substances” (HNS) means:

 

(a)   any substances, materials and articles carried on board a ship as cargo, referred to in (i) to (vii) below:

 

(i)       oils carried in bulk listed in appendix I of Annex I to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto, as amended;

(ii)     noxious liquid substances carried in bulk referred to in appendix II of Annex II to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto, as amended, and those substances and mixtures provisionally categorized as falling in pollution category A, B, C or D in accordance with regulation 3(4) of the said Annex II1;

(iii)    dangerous liquid substances carried in bulk listed in chapter 17 of the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Dangerous Chemicals in Bulk, 1983, as amended, and the dangerous products for which the preliminary suitable conditions for the carriage have been prescribed by the Administration and port administrations involved in accordance with paragraph 1.1.3 of the Code;

(iv)   dangerous, hazardous and harmful substances, materials and articles in packaged form covered by the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code, as amended;

(v)    liquefied gases as listed in chapter 19 of the International Code for the Construction and Equipment of Ships Carrying Liquefied Gases in Bulk, 1983, as amended, and the products for which preliminary suitable conditions for the carriage have been prescribed by the Administration and port administrations involved in accordance with paragraph 1.1.6 of the Code;

(vi)   liquid substances carried in bulk with a flashpoint not exceeding 60¡C (measured by a closed cup test);

(vii) solid bulk materials possessing chemical hazards covered by appendix B of the Code of Safe Practice for Solid Bulk Cargoes, as amended, to the extent that these substances are also subject to the provisions of the International Maritime Dangerous Goods Code when carried in packaged form; and

 

(b) residues from the previous carriage in bulk of substances referred to in (a)(i) to (iii) and (v) to (vii) above.

 

 

Contact: Howard Snaith, or Michele White or Ajay Gour