International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007. – a New Contribution to the Safety of Navigation and Marine Environment Protection
Keywords:Removal of wrecks, International conventions, Safety of navigation, Marine environment protection
The text of the International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks was finally adopted at the International Conference held from 14 to 18 May, 2007 in the United Nations Office at Nairobi in Kenya (UNON). The Convention shall enter into force twelve months after having been signed and approved by ten States. The new Convention will provide a legal frame for the States Parties in removing existing and future wrecks located beyond the territorial sea (within their sovereign rights). First of all it is the exclusive economic zone which we discuss in the paper, or if a state has not established the Zone, it is the territory just beyond the territorial seas which extends not more than 200 NM from the starting lines for determining the size of territorial seas. Although the number of maritime accidents has been reduced recently, it has been estimated that there are more than 1 300 abandoned wrecks around the world today that pose potential hazards to safe navigation, utilization of the living resources, as well as to the marine environment. In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Republic of Croatia established Protected Ecological and Fishing Zone comprising sovereign rights characteristic for exclusive economic zones such as sovereign right of researching, utilization and conservation of the living resources beyond the outer borders of the territorial sea, as well as their management, and the jurisdiction with regard to the scientific research of the sea and protection and preservation of the marine environment. The Adriatic Sea falls into the category of closed or semi-closed seas by the definition of the United Nation Convention on the Law of the Sea, and therefore if compared with larger seas, the consequences of pollution would be much greater due to its small size. That is why the adoption of the Convention on the Removal of Wrecks is of great importance to Croatia. The provisions of the Convention oblige the master and the operator of a ship to notify the endangered state party immediately about the accident which may cause a shipwreck, and the state must inform the mariners and other coastal states about the hazard posed by wrecks. The most important fact is that the Convention requires compulsory security for vessels of 300BT. The vessels of 300 BT are obliged to have the certificate of insurance, or some other financial security as a cover for owner’s liability for the damage caused by the removal of the wreck.