North Korea Ratifies Wreck Removal Treaty

  • As Moon Jae-in, South Korea’s new president is sworn in

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea has ratified the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks. This brings the total number of states to accede to the treaty to 35.

The convention, which entered into force in 2015, provides the legal basis for states to remove, or have removed, shipwrecks that may threaten the safety of lives, goods and property at sea, as well as the marine environment.

The convention was adopted in 2007 and its contracting states currently represent just over 60% of the world’s merchant fleet tonnage.

The treaty makes shipowners financially liable and requires them to take out insurance or provide other financial security to cover the costs of wreck removal. It also provides states with a right of direct action against insurers.

Kim Kwang Min, Counsellor, Deputy Permanent Representative of North Korea to IMO, North Korean Embassy in London, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim to deposit the instrument of accession on May 8.

In the meantime, the newly elected president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in, has been sworn in after a decisive election victory.

He said he would be willing to visit Pyongyang “in the right circumstances”.

The 64-year-old human rights lawyer, known for his liberal views, wants to increase contact with North Korea in a departure from current policy.

He has also vowed to unify a divided country reeling from a corruption scandal which saw his predecessor impeached, and improve the economy.

Mr Moon was sworn in as South Korea’s 19th president at the National Assembly building in Seoul, filling a leadership vacuum in the wake of Park Geun-hye’s removal.

The Democratic Party candidate has positioned himself as the man who can move the country on from the scandal, and has pledged to build “a just, united country”.

He has also been critical of the two previous conservative administrations for failing to stop North Korea’s weapons development, and has promised to bolster the economy and address youth unemployment, key concerns for voters.

World Maritime News with additional report from BBC