Lack of clarity surrounds Norway’s plans for Nairobi Convention

Standard Club has issued a web alert noting that the Norwegian Ministry of Transport is working on a proposal to ratify the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks by way of incorporation into national legislation, but it is unclear how this will sit with current rules. The draft legislation suggests that Norway will not repeal its existing laws, but that the two systems will work side by side.

The Nairobi Convention gives state parties the power to take measures to remove any wrecks located within their Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) – an area 12nm from the costal baseline. It also allows States to opt to apply the Convention to wrecks located within their territorial waters – between 0nm and 12 nm from the coastal baseline.

Norway intends to opt in and extend the Convention rules to its territorial and internal waters, but has no intention of giving up its existing legislation, which is actually tougher than the Convention. Currently the Norwegian Authorities have the power to order the removal of a wreck which simply constitutes a threat to the environment or could be considered unsightly.

Standard Club said that it was therefore “unclear how the existing legislation will work in practice with the Convention although there are suggestions that the recovery of costs of locating, marking and removing a wreck under Articles 7, 8 and 9 of the Convention as well as the direct right of action against the insurer under Article 12 may only be available to the Norwegian authorities in respect of a removal order issued in accordance with the Convention”.

Norway has exercised its option under the LLMC to implement higher limits of liability for wreck removal. “Members should therefore anticipate that these higher limits will apply to wreck removal ordered in accordance with the Nairobi Convention”, Standard Club said.