Canada joins the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007, to address shipwrecks and ensure owner accountability

News release

May 1, 2019                Ottawa              Transport Canada

Wrecked vessels can pose environmental, economic and safety hazards for communities across Canada. Canadians deserve to enjoy and navigate through safe waters, which is why the Government of Canada, through its Oceans Protection Plan, has been taking action to protect coastal and waterway communities from this problem. Yesterday, Canada took another step in this direction by acceding to the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007.

The Convention establishes a framework for hazardous wrecks resulting from marine incidents. The Convention was incorporated into domestic law through the Wrecked, Abandoned or Hazardous Vessels Act, which received Royal Assent on February 28, 2019. This allows Canada to now accede to the Convention alongside France, the United Kingdom, and 40 other countries. Adopting the Convention into law in Canada makes vessel owners strictly liable, with no limitation of liability, for hazardous wrecks in Canadian waters. Owners of large vessels (300 gross tonnage or larger) will now be required to maintain insurance or other financial security to cover the potential costs of wreck removal.

These actions are part of the Government’s broader $1.5-billion Oceans Protection Plan – the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. This national plan is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coastlines and clean water for generations to come. This work is being done in close collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities.


“Acceding to this Convention brings Canada in line with international standards, to enable us to better protect our coastlines. By requiring responsible vessel management, and making vessel owners accountable in the event of a marine incident, we ensure that Canadian waters remain safe and healthy, a source of enjoyment and economic benefit for years to come. Thanks to the Oceans Protection Plan, Canada’s marine safety system is stronger than it has ever been.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport

Quick facts

  • The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks, 2007 is an international legal framework developed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping.

  • Other Oceans Protection Plan legislative amendments received Royal Assent on December 13, 2018, as part of the fall Budget Implementation Act. These significant changes to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001 and the Marine Liability Act deliver on commitments made under the Oceans Protection Plan to enable the Government to respond to marine pollution incidents faster and more effectively, and to better protect marine ecosystems and habitats. They will enable greater collaboration and partnership with Indigenous people in the delivery of marine safety in Canada.

  • Since the Oceans Protection Plan started in November 2016, over 50 initiatives have been announced in the areas of marine safety, research and ecosystem protection that span coast-to-coast-to-coast.

Associated links


Delphine Denis
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

Page details

Date modified: