Wreck Removal Convention

The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007, is expected to come into force on the 14th April 2015. The Convention will provide the legal basis for States to remove, or have removed, shipwrecks that may have the potential to affect adversely the safety of lives, goods and property at sea, as well as the marine environment.

According to IMO, the Convention will fill a gap in the existing international legal framework by providing the first set of uniform international rules aimed at ensuring the prompt and effective removal of wrecks located beyond the territorial sea. The Convention also includes an optional clause enabling States Parties to apply certain provisions to their territory, including their territorial sea.

Malta has acceded to the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wreck, 2007 and the Malta Merchant Shipping Directorate requests that as of the 14th April 2015, the registered owner of seagoing ships, including fishing vessels, private and commercial yachts, of 300 GT and over are required to maintain an insurance cover or other financial security, such as a guarantee of a bank or similar institution to cover liability under this Convention.

In the case of vessels flying the Maltese flag or for vessels entering into or exiting from Maltese waters such vessels will be required to hold a valid insurance certificate or other valid financial security covering the liability for the expenses incurred in the event that the vessel becomes a wreck. Ship owners of Maltese flagged vessels are expected to obtain a policy of insurance satisfying the requirements of Article 12 of the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007. Once the insurance is in place, upon presentation of a valid blue card issued by an approved P&I Club, the Directorate shall issue such certificate.

The Malta Registry shall be accepting applications for the issuance of such certificate from both Malta Flagged vessels and also in respect of ships flagged with a non-State party to the Convention.