The IOPC Funds were invited to join a meeting between the Governments of Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands on 23 January 2024, as they discussed the final steps in their progress towards ratification of the 2010 HNS Protocol. The three States have long been working in close cooperation with the aim of ratifying at the same time to ensure a more equitable sharing of the costs of contributions when the treaty enters into force.
The meeting was held at the Hague, the Netherlands, and focussed particularly on the issues faced in meeting the requirement to report all HNS received by companies within the States. The Government of France, who ratified the Protocol in 2023, was also invited to share its experience. It provided information on its own practices developed prior to ratification, including a customised reporting system. The IOPC Funds offered guidance and clarification on the options available for the practical and effective implementation of the reporting requirements under the Protocol. This was based on its 40 years’ experience in managing the receipt of and in supporting States with the reporting of persistent oil.
The following day, a visit was organised to the Port of Rotterdam, where the Director of the IOPC Funds, Gaute Sivertsen, Head of Administration, Robert Owen, and HNS Project Officer, Thomas Liebert, were able to provide a brief overview to Port staff and discuss the role of the organisation, both in the context of oil pollution incidents, and its work in preparing for the entry into force of the 2010 HNS Convention. They in turn were given an insight into the work behind the scenes of this international hub, which sees over 30 000 vessels arriving often laden heavily with oil or HNS every year.
The IOPC Funds Secretariat was pleased to be able to support these States on this occasion and remains available to assist others with similar requirements as part of its role, as tasked by States at the 2010 Diplomatic Conference which adopted the Protocol, to prepare for the entry into force of the Protocol and the first Assembly of the HNS Fund.