Russia Ratifies IMO Convention on the Removal of Wrecks

A wrecked bulker in the Black Sea, 2018 (file image)

Published Dec 7, 2021 9:27 PM by The Maritime Executive

Russia has ratified the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, which entered into force in 2015. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the ratification law after it was passed by both houses of Russia's parliament.

The convention places placing strict liability on shipowners for locating, marking and removing wrecks that have the potential to impact the safety of lives, goods and property at sea, as well as the marine environment.

Russia joins 55 other nations which have ratified the convention since its adoption in 2007, including maritime powerhouses China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and the United Kingdom.  which was adopted in 2007 and came into effect in 2015. The U.S., Greece and Australia are among the nations which have declined to ratify it. 

Apart from providing a framework for removal of wrecks, the Nairobi convention provides for additional compulsory insurance payments by shipowners who will have to pay for lifting their sunken vessels. In effect, owners of vessels of 300 GT and higher must have compulsory insurance to provide for wreck removal costs. The convention also provides states parties with a right of direct action against insurers.

According to the IMO, although the incidence of marine casualties has decreased dramatically in recent years, the number of abandoned wrecks - estimated at almost 1,300 worldwide - has increased. The effect has been more acute problems for coastal states and shipping in general.

For large vessels in difficult locations, wreck removal can be an extremely costly undertaking. The salvage of the ro/ro carrier Golden Ray cost at least $840 million, and the price for the removal of the ill-fated cruise ship Costa Concordia exceeded $1 billion.