RATIFICATION OF THE NAIROBI WRECK REMOVAL CONVENTION

With the approval of Law No. 26 of May 4, 2015, the National Assembly of Panama ratified the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention. This approval shows Panama’s commitment to comply with the international standards and regulations regarding maritime issues. This is also one step forward in the strengthening of Panama’s position as the world-class maritime leader.

Mr. Jorge Barakat, administrator of the Panama Maritime Authority, the worldwide leader in ship registering, gave his support for this act of ratification. Mr. Barakat underlined Panama’s commitment, to comply with international conventions and standards. He pointed that the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention fills a significant gap in the existing legislation concerning shipowners’ liability in these matters.

This convention establishes homogeneous standards and procedures of international application, which are meant to ensure a fast and effective waste disposal, as well as the removal of shipwrecks that are located outside the territorial waters and may be a threat for the maritime shipping and the environment.   

This convention aims to create a legal framework that shall define a wide range of concepts, such as "shipwreck". It defines also shipowners’ responsibility regarding the expenses involved in finding, marking the position of wrecks and removing them. The convention underlined shipowners’ obligation to have insurance or any other financial collateral that covers the liability demanded by this convention. In this regard, the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention requires this financial measure from the shipowners whose ships’ gross tonnage is equal or above 300.

Under the agreement, countries reserve the right to remove any ship that has wrecked. A state guarantee is established against the owners and captains from other countries. The convention also establishes the liability of shipowners to remove dangerous remains of shipwrecks. The convention is a legal way that ensures the reimbursement of the costs incurred by the country that removes the remains on behalf of the shipowner.

The International Conference summoned by the IMO to discuss the issues of removal of shipwrecks approved the Wreck Removal Convention in Nairobi, on May 18 2007.