The chemical trade which is mainly transported by sea in bulk or in packaged form is estimated to reach 215 million tonnes in 2015, according to a report on evolving chemical and product sectors, published by the UK-based independent research company Ocean Shipping Consultants Ltd.
Between 2002 and 2010, 192 reported incidents involving hazardous noxious substances (HNS) costing 185 million SDR (equivalent to RM870 million) were handled by the International Group of P&I Clubs. In addition, 235 maritime incidents involving HNS were reported between 2006 and 2011.
The existing compensation regimes of the International Convention on Civil Liability for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992 (CLC) and the International Convention on the Establishment of an International Fund for Compensation for Oil Pollution Damage, 1992 (Fund Convention) only cover pollution damage caused by spills of persistent oil from tankers. Liability and compensation for loss or damage arising from HNS carriage by sea is to be addressed by the CLC with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 2010 (2010 HNS Convention) which has yet to enter into force.
Malaysia has ratified the CLC and Fund Conventions, the LLMC Convention, the Bunker Convention and the Nairobi Wreck Removal Convention. Ratification of the 2010 HNS Convention would supplement the existing suite of liability and compensation conventions which Malaysia has already ratified.
Malaysia intends to ratify the 2010 HNS Convention by 2015 keeping in mind the importance of the Straits of Malacca as a major conduit for the carriage of HNS. Malaysia acceded to the Protocol on Preparedness, Response and Co-operation to Pollution Incidents by Hazardous Noxious Substances, 2000 (OPRC-HNS Protocol) on 28 November 2013.