Sunday, December 31, 2006


Kenya to host IMO summit to adopt shipwreck removal treaty

By Abdulsamad Ali
December 31, 2006

Kenya will host the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) diplomatic conference in May 2007, The EastAfrican has learnt.

The conference where 500 participants are expected will be held in Nairobi from May 14-18 to consider the adoption of a new Wreck Removal Convention.

The IMO’s legal committee, at its 92nd session in October 2006, approved a draft Wreck Removal Convention. Once adopted and enforced, the new convention will provide the legal basis for states to remove, or have removed, from their exclusive economic zones, shipwrecks that may pose a hazard to navigation, or marine and coastal environments. The new convention will also require shipowners to take out insurance to cover the costs of removal and provide states with the right of direct action against insurers.

The draft convention covers reporting and locating ships and wrecks, determination of hazard, rights and obligations to remove hazardous ships and wrecks, financial liability for locating, marking and removing ships and wrecks. It also covers financial security and settlement of disputes.

Meanwhile, Kenyan seafarers hope the conference will speed up the enactment of four maritime Bills that were prepared by a taskforce three years ago.

The Merchant Shipping Bill, Maritime Authority Bill, Maritime Pollution Bill and the Inland Waterway Transport Bill have been lying at the Attorney General’s Chambers since 2003.

The seafarers want action on the Bills because the maritime sector is still operating under outdated laws.

In a memorandum to President Mwai Kibaki, the seafarers said they are losing out on jobs and other important maritime developments because of the delay in enacting the Bills.


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