“SCHEDULE - Wreck Removal Convention
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The Schedule referred to in section 1(4) is—
THE STATES PARTIES TO THE PRESENT CONVENTION,
CONSCIOUS of the fact that wrecks, if not removed, may pose a hazard to
navigation or the marine environment,
CONVINCED of the need to adopt uniform international rules and
procedures to ensure the prompt and effective removal of wrecks and
payment of compensation for the costs therein involved,
NOTING that many wrecks may be located in States’ territory, including the
RECOGNIZING the benefits to be gained through uniformity in legal
regimes governing responsibility and liability for removal of hazardous
BEARING IN MIND the importance of the United Nations Convention on
the Law of the Sea, done at Montego Bay on 10 December 1982, and of the
customary international law of the sea, and the consequent need to
implement the present Convention in accordance with such provisions,
HAVE AGREED as follows:
For the purposes of this Convention:
1. “Convention area” means the exclusive economic zone of a State Party,
established in accordance with international law or, if a State Party has not
established such a zone, an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea of
that State determined by that State in accordance with international law and
extending not more than 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which
the breadth of its territorial sea is measured.
2. “Ship” means a seagoing vessel of any type whatsoever and includes
hydrofoil boats, air-cushion vehicles, submersibles, floating craft and
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floating platforms, except when such platforms are on location engaged in
the exploration, exploitation or production of seabed mineral resources.
3. “Maritime casualty” means a collision of ships, stranding or other incident
of navigation, or other occurrence on board a ship or external to it, resulting
in material damage or imminent threat of material damage to a ship or its
4. “Wreck”, following upon a maritime casualty, means:
(a) a sunken or stranded ship; or
any part of a sunken or stranded ship, including any object that is or
has been on board such a ship; or
any object that is lost at sea from a ship and that is stranded, sunken
or adrift at sea; or
a ship that is about, or may reasonably be expected, to sink or to
strand, where effective measures to assist the ship or any property in
danger are not already being taken.
5. “Hazard” means any condition or threat that:
(a) poses a danger or impediment to navigation; or
may reasonably be expected to result in major harmful consequences
to the marine environment, or damage to the coastline or related
interests of one or more States.
6. “Related interests” means the interests of a coastal State directly affected
or threatened by a wreck, such as:
maritime coastal, port and estuarine activities, including fisheries
activities, constituting an essential means of livelihood of the persons
tourist attractions and other economic interests of the area
the health of the coastal population and the wellbeing of the area
concerned, including conservation of marine living resources and of
(d) offshore and underwater infrastructure.
7. “Removal” means any form of prevention, mitigation or elimination of the
hazard created by a wreck. “Remove”, “removed” and “removing” shall be
8. “Registered owner” means the person or persons registered as the owner
of the ship or, in the absence of registration, the person or persons owning
the ship at the time of the maritime casualty. However, in the case of a ship
owned by a State and operated by a company which in that State is
registered as the operator of the ship, “registered owner” shall mean such
9. “Operator of the ship” means the owner of the ship or any other
organization or person such as the manager, or the bareboat charterer, who
has assumed the responsibility for operation of the ship from the owner of
the ship and who, on assuming such responsibility, has agreed to take over
all duties and responsibilities established under the International Safety
Management Code, as amended.
10. “Affected State” means the State in whose Convention area the wreck is
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11. “State of the ship’s registry” means, in relation to a registered ship, the
State of registration of the ship and, in relation to an unregistered ship, the
State whose flag the ship is entitled to fly.
12. “Organization” means the International Maritime Organization.
13. “Secretary-General” means the Secretary-General of the Organization.
1. A State Party may take measures in accordance with this Convention in
relation to the removal of a wreck which poses a hazard in the Convention
2. Measures taken by the Affected State in accordance with paragraph 1 shall
be proportionate to the hazard.
3. Such measures shall not go beyond what is reasonably necessary to
remove a wreck which poses a hazard and shall cease as soon as the wreck
has been removed; they shall not unnecessarily interfere with the rights and
interests of other States including the State of the ship’s registry, and of any
person, physical or corporate, concerned.
4. The application of this Convention within the Convention area shall not
entitle a State Party to claim or exercise sovereignty or sovereign rights over
any part of the high seas.
5. States Parties shall endeavour to co-operate when the effects of a maritime
casualty resulting in a wreck involve a State other than the Affected State.
1. Except as otherwise provided in this Convention, this Convention shall
apply to wrecks in the Convention area.
2. A State Party may extend the application of this Convention to wrecks
located within its territory, including the territorial sea, subject to article 4,
paragraph 4. In that case, it shall notify the Secretary-General accordingly, at
the time of expressing its consent to be bound by this Convention or at any
time thereafter. When a State Party has made a notification to apply this
Convention to wrecks located within its territory, including the territorial
sea, this is without prejudice to the rights and obligations of that State to take
measures in relation to wrecks located in its territory, including the
territorial sea, other than locating, marking and removing them in
accordance with this Convention. The provisions of articles 10, 11 and 12 of
this Convention shall not apply to any measures so taken other than those
referred to in articles 7, 8 and 9 of this Convention.
3. When a State Party has made a notification under paragraph 2, the
“Convention area” of the Affected State shall include the territory, including
the territorial sea, of that State Party.
4. A notification made under paragraph 2 above shall take effect for that
State Party, if made before entry into force of this Convention for that State
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Party, upon entry into force. If notification is made after entry into force of
this Convention for that State Party, it shall take effect six months after its
receipt by the Secretary-General.
5. A State Party that has made a notification under paragraph 2 may
withdraw it at any time by means of a notification of withdrawal to the
Secretary-General. Such notification of withdrawal shall take effect six
months after its receipt by the Secretary-General, unless the notification
specifies a later date.
1. This Convention shall not apply to measures taken under the
International Convention relating to Intervention on the High Seas in Cases
of Oil Pollution Casualties, 1969, as amended, or the Protocol relating to
Intervention on the High Seas in Cases of Pollution by Substances other than
Oil, 1973, as amended.
2. This Convention shall not apply to any warship or other ship owned or
operated by a State and used, for the time being, only on Government non-
commercial service, unless that State decides otherwise.
3. Where a State Party decides to apply this Convention to its warships or
other ships as described in paragraph 2, it shall notify the Secretary-General,
thereof, specifying the terms and conditions of such application.
4. (a) When a State Party has made a notification under article 3, paragraph
2, the following provisions of this Convention shall not apply in its territory,
including the territorial sea:
“(i) Article 2, paragraph 4;
(ii) Article 9, paragraphs 1, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10; and
(iii) Article 15.”
(b) Article 9, paragraph 4, insofar as it applies to the territory, including the
territorial sea of a State Party, shall read:
Subject to the national law of the Affected State, the registered owner may
contract with any salvor or other person to remove the wreck determined to
constitute a hazard on behalf of the owner. Before such removal commences,
the Affected State may lay down conditions for such removal only to the
extent necessary to ensure that the removal proceeds in a manner that is
consistent with considerations of safety and protection of the marine
1. A State Party shall require the master and the operator of a ship flying its
flag to report to the Affected State without delay when that ship has been
involved in a maritime casualty resulting in a wreck. To the extent that the
reporting obligation under this article has been fulfilled either by the master
or the operator of the ship, the other shall not be obliged to report.
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2. Such reports shall provide the name and the principal place of business of
the registered owner and all the relevant information necessary for the
Affected State to determine whether the wreck poses a hazard in accordance
with article 6, including:
(a) the precise location of the wreck;
(b) the type, size and construction of the wreck;
(c) the nature of the damage to, and the condition of, the wreck;
the nature and quantity of the cargo, in particular any hazardous and
noxious substances; and
the amount and types of oil, including bunker oil and lubricating oil,
When determining whether a wreck poses a hazard, the following criteria
should be taken into account by the Affected State:
(a) the type, size and construction of the wreck;
(b) depth of the water in the area;
(c) tidal range and currents in the area;
particularly sensitive sea areas identified and, as appropriate,
designated in accordance with guidelines adopted by the
Organization, or a clearly defined area of the exclusive economic
zone where special mandatory measures have been adopted
pursuant to article 211, paragraph 6, of the United Nations
Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982;
(e) proximity of shipping routes or established traffic lanes;
(f) traffic density and frequency;
(g) type of traffic;
nature and quantity of the wreck’s cargo, the amount and types of oil
(such as bunker oil and lubricating oil) on board the wreck and, in
particular, the damage likely to result should the cargo or oil be
released into the marine environment;
(i) vulnerability of port facilities;
(j) prevailing meteorological and hydrographical conditions;
(k) submarine topography of the area;
height of the wreck above or below the surface of the water at lowest
(m) acoustic and magnetic profiles of the wreck;
proximity of offshore installations, pipelines, telecommunications
cables and similar structures; and
any other circumstances that might necessitate the removal of the
1. Upon becoming aware of a wreck, the Affected State shall use all
practicable means, including the good offices of States and organizations, to
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warn mariners and the States concerned of the nature and location of the
wreck as a matter of urgency.
2. If the Affected State has reason to believe that a wreck poses a hazard, it
shall ensure that all practicable steps are taken to establish the precise
location of the wreck.
1. If the Affected State determines that a wreck constitutes a hazard, that
State shall ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to mark the wreck.
2. In marking the wreck, all practicable steps shall be taken to ensure that the
markings conform to the internationally accepted system of buoyage in use
in the area where the wreck is located.
3. The Affected State shall promulgate the particulars of the marking of the
wreck by use of all appropriate means, including the appropriate nautical
1. If the Affected State determines that a wreck constitutes a hazard, that
State shall immediately:
(a) inform the State of the ship’s registry and the registered owner; and
proceed to consult the State of the ship’s registry and other States
affected by the wreck regarding measures to be taken in relation to
2. The registered owner shall remove a wreck determined to constitute a
3. When a wreck has been determined to constitute a hazard, the registered
owner, or other interested party, shall provide the competent authority of
the Affected State with evidence of insurance or other financial security as
required by article 12.
4. The registered owner may contract with any salvor or other person to
remove the wreck determined to constitute a hazard on behalf of the owner.
Before such removal commences, the Affected State may lay down
conditions for such removal only to the extent necessary to ensure that the
removal proceeds in a manner that is consistent with considerations of
safety and protection of the marine environment.
5. When the removal referred to in paragraphs 2 and 4 has commenced, the
Affected State may intervene in the removal only to the extent necessary to
ensure that the removal proceeds effectively in a manner that is consistent
with considerations of safety and protection of the marine environment.
6. The Affected State shall:
set a reasonable deadline within which the registered owner must
remove the wreck, taking into account the nature of the hazard
determined in accordance with article 6;
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inform the registered owner in writing of the deadline it has set and
specify that, if the registered owner does not remove the wreck
within that deadline, it may remove the wreck at the registered
owner’s expense; and
inform the registered owner in writing that it intends to intervene
immediately in circumstances where the hazard becomes
7. If the registered owner does not remove the wreck within the deadline set
in accordance with paragraph 6(a), or the registered owner cannot be
contacted, the Affected State may remove the wreck by the most practical
and expeditious means available, consistent with considerations of safety
and protection of the marine environment.
8. In circumstances where immediate action is required and the Affected
State has informed the State of the ship’s registry and the registered owner
accordingly, it may remove the wreck by the most practical and expeditious
means available, consistent with considerations of safety and protection of
the marine environment.
9. States Parties shall take appropriate measures under their national law to
ensure that their registered owners comply with paragraphs 2 and 3.
10. States Parties give their consent to the Affected State to act under
paragraphs 4 to 8, where required.
11. The information referred to in this article shall be provided by the
Affected State to the registered owner identified in the reports referred to in
article 5, paragraph 2.
1. Subject to article 11, the registered owner shall be liable for the costs of
locating, marking and removing the wreck under articles 7, 8 and 9,
respectively, unless the registered owner proves that the maritime casualty
that caused the wreck:
resulted from an act of war, hostilities, civil war, insurrection, or a
natural phenomenon of an exceptional, inevitable and irresistible
was wholly caused by an act or omission done with intent to cause
damage by a third party; or
was wholly caused by the negligence or other wrongful act of any
Government or other authority responsible for the maintenance of
lights or other navigational aids in the exercise of that function.
2. Nothing in this Convention shall affect the right of the registered owner to
limit liability under any applicable national or international regime, such as
the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims, 1976, as
3. No claim for the costs referred to in paragraph 1 may be made against the
registered owner otherwise than in accordance with the provisions of this
Convention. This is without prejudice to the rights and obligations of a State
Party that has made a notification under article 3, paragraph 2, in relation to
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wrecks located in its territory, including the territorial sea, other than
locating, marking and removing in accordance with this Convention.
4. Nothing in this article shall prejudice any right of recourse against third
1. The registered owner shall not be liable under this Convention for the
costs mentioned in article 10, paragraph 1 if, and to the extent that, liability
for such costs would be in conflict with:
the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution
Damage, 1969, as amended;
the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for
Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious
Substances by Sea, 1996, as amended;
the Convention on Third Party Liability in the Field of Nuclear
Energy, 1960, as amended, or the Vienna Convention on Civil
Liability for Nuclear Damage, 1963, as amended; or national law
governing or prohibiting limitation of liability for nuclear damage;
the International Convention on Civil Liability for Bunker Oil
Pollution Damage, 2001, as amended;
provided that the relevant convention is applicable and in force.
2. To the extent that measures under this Convention are considered to be
salvage under applicable national law or an international convention, such
law or convention shall apply to questions of the remuneration or
compensation payable to salvors to the exclusion of the rules of this
1. The registered owner of a ship of 300 gross tonnage and above and flying
the flag of a State Party shall be required to maintain insurance or other
financial security, such as a guarantee of a bank or similar institution, to
cover liability under this Convention in an amount equal to the limits of
liability under the applicable national or international limitation regime, but
in all cases not exceeding an amount calculated in accordance with article
6(1)(b) of the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims,
1976, as amended.
2. A certificate attesting that insurance or other financial security is in force
in accordance with the provisions of this Convention shall be issued to each
ship of 300 gross tonnage and above by the appropriate authority of the State
of the ship’s registry after determining that the requirements of paragraph 1
have been complied with. With respect to a ship registered in a State Party,
such certificate shall be issued or certified by the appropriate authority of the
State of the ship’s registry; with respect to a ship not registered in a State
Party it may be issued or certified by the appropriate authority of any State
Party. This compulsory insurance certificate shall be in the form of the model
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set out in the annex to this Convention, and shall contain the following
(a) name of the ship, distinctive number or letters and port of registry;
(b) gross tonnage of the ship;
(c) name and principal place of business of the registered owner;
(d) IMO ship identification number;
(e) type and duration of security;
name and principal place of business of insurer or other person
giving security and, where appropriate, place of business where the
insurance or security is established; and
period of validity of the certificate, which shall not be longer than the
period of validity of the insurance or other security.
3. (a) A State Party may authorize either an institution or an organization
recognized by it to issue the certificate referred to in paragraph 2. Such
institution or organization shall inform that State of the issue of each
certificate. In all cases, the State Party shall fully guarantee the completeness
and accuracy of the certificate so issued and shall undertake to ensure the
necessary arrangements to satisfy this obligation.
(b) A State Party shall notify the Secretary-General of:
the specific responsibilities and conditions of the
authority delegated to an institution or organization
recognized by it;
(ii) the withdrawal of such authority; and
the date from which such authority or withdrawal of
such authority takes effect.”
An authority delegated shall not take effect prior to three months from the
date on which notification to that effect was given to the Secretary-General.
(c) The institution or organization authorized to issue certificates in
accordance with this paragraph shall, as a minimum, be authorized to
withdraw these certificates if the conditions under which they have been
issued are not maintained. In all cases the institution or organization shall
report such withdrawal to the State on whose behalf the certificate was
4. The certificate shall be in the official language or languages of the issuing
State. If the language used is not English, French or Spanish, the text shall
include a translation into one of these languages and, where the State so
decides, the official language(s) of the State may be omitted.
5. The certificate shall be carried on board the ship and a copy shall be
deposited with the authorities who keep the record of the ship’s registry or,
if the ship is not registered in a State Party, with the authorities issuing or
certifying the certificate.
6. An insurance or other financial security shall not satisfy the requirements
of this article if it can cease for reasons other than the expiry of the period of
validity of the insurance or security specified in the certificate under
paragraph 2 before three months have elapsed from the date on which notice
of its termination is given to the authorities referred to in paragraph 5
unless certificate has been surrendered to these authorities or a new
certificate has been issued within the said period. The foregoing provisions
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shall similarly apply to any modification, which results in the insurance or
security no longer satisfying the requirements of this article.
7. The State of the ship’s registry shall, subject to the provisions of this article
and having regard to any guidelines adopted by the Organization on the
financial responsibility of the registered owners, determine the conditions of
issue and validity of the certificate
8. Nothing in this Convention shall be construed as preventing a State Party
from relying on information obtained from other States or the Organization
or other international organizations relating to the financial standing of
providers of insurance or financial security for the purposes of this
Convention. In such cases, the State Party relying on such information is not
relieved of its responsibility as a State issuing the certificate required by
9. Certificates issued and certified under the authority of a State Party shall
be accepted by other States Parties for the purposes of this Convention and
shall be regarded by other States Parties as having the same force as
certificates issued or certified by them, even if issued or certified in respect
of a ship not registered in a State Party. A State Party may at any time request
consultation with the issuing or certifying State should it believe that the
insurer or guarantor named in the certificate is not financially capable of
meeting the obligations imposed by this Convention.
10. Any claim for costs arising under this Convention may be brought
directly against the insurer or other person providing financial security for
the registered owner’s liability. In such a case the defendant may invoke the
defences (other than the bankruptcy or winding up of the registered owner)
that the registered owner would have been entitled to invoke, including
limitation of liability under any applicable national or international regime.
Furthermore, even if the registered owner is not entitled to limit liability, the
defendant may limit liability to an amount equal to the amount of the
insurance or other financial security required to be maintained in
accordance with paragraph 1. Moreover, the defendant may invoke the
defence that the maritime casualty was caused by the wilful misconduct of
the registered owner, but the defendant shall not invoke any other defence
which the defendant might have been entitled to invoke in proceedings
brought by the registered owner against the defendant. The defendant shall
in any event have the right to require the registered owner to be joined in the
11. A State Party shall not permit any ship entitled to fly its flag to which this
article applies to operate at any time unless a certificate has been issued
under paragraphs 2 or 14.
12. Subject to the provisions of this article, each State Party shall ensure,
under its national law, that insurance or other security to the extent required
by paragraph 1 is in force in respect of any ship of 300 gross tonnage and
above, wherever registered, entering or leaving a port in its territory, or
arriving at or leaving from an offshore facility in its territorial sea.
13. Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 5, a State Party may notify
the Secretary-General that, for the purposes of paragraph 12, ships are not
required to carry on board or to produce the certificate required by
paragraph 2, when entering or leaving a port in its territory, or arriving at or
leaving from an offshore facility in its territorial sea, provided that the State