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II.3.250 (COLREG 1972) CONVENTION ON THE INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS FOR PREVENTING COLLISIONS AT SEA, 1972, AS AMENDED

The Ratification of Maritime Conventions

Chapter I.3.250

CONVENTION ON THE INTERNATIONAL REGULATIONS FOR PREVENTING COLLISIONS AT SEA, 1972, AS AMENDED

Note: The present text incorporates the original text as modified by the following amendments:

  Date of entry
  into force
—1981 amendments adopted by res. A.464(XII) 01.06.1983
—1987 amendments adopted by res. A.626(15) 19.11.1989
—1989 amendments adopted by res. A.678(16) 19.04.1991
—1993 amendments adopted by res. A.736(18) 04.11.1995
—2001 amendments adopted by res. A.910(22) 29.11.2003
—2007 amendments adopted by res. A.1004(25) 01.12.2009
—2013 amendments adopted by res. A.1085(28) 01.01.2016
ADOPTED: Done at London, 20 October 1972
REFERENCE: COLREG, 1972
UN TREATY NUMBER: I. 15824
ENTERED INTO FORCE: 15 July 1977
DEPOSITARY: IMO, London
SECRETARY: IMO, London

IMPLEMENTATION

SIGNATURE, RATIFICATION, ACCEPTANCE, APPROVAL AND ACCESSION

Article II

1. The present Convention shall remain open for signature until 1 June 1973 and shall thereafter remain open for accession.

2. States Members of the United Nations, or of any of the Specialized Agencies, or the International Atomic Energy Agency, or Parties to the Statute of the International Court of Justice may become Parties to this Convention by:

  • (a) signature without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval;
  • (b) signature subject to ratification, acceptance or approval followed by ratification, acceptance or approval; or
  • (c) accession.

3. Ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument to that effect with the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organisation (hereinafter referred to as “the Organisation”) which shall inform the Governments of States that have signed or acceded to the present Convention of the deposit of each instrument and of the date of its deposit.

ENTRY INTO FORCE

Article IV

1. (a) The present Convention shall enter into force twelve months after the date on which at least 15 States, the aggregate of whose merchant fleets constitutes not less than 65 per cent by number or by tonnage of the world fleet of vessels of 100 gross tons and over have become Parties to it, whichever is achieved first.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph, the present Convention shall not enter into force before 1 January 1976.

2. Entry into force for States which ratify, accept, approve or accede to this Convention in accordance with article II after the conditions prescribed in subparagraph 1(a) have been met and before the Convention enters into force, shall be on the date of entry into force of the Convention.

3. Entry into force for States which ratify, accept, approve or accede after the date on which this Convention enters into force, shall be on the date of deposit of an instrument in accordance with article II.

4. After the date of entry into force of an amendment to this Convention in accordance with paragraph 4 of Article VI, any ratification, acceptance, approval or accession shall apply to the Convention as amended.

5. On the date of entry into force of this Convention, the Regulations replace and abrogate the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1960.

6. The Secretary-General shall inform the Governments of States that have signed or acceded to this Convention of the date of its entry into force.

DENUNCIATION

Article VII

1. The present Convention may be denounced by a Contracting Party at any time after the expiry of five years from the date on which the Convention entered into force for that Party.

2. Denunciation shall be effected by the deposit of an instrument with the Organisation. The Secretary-General shall inform all other Contracting Parties of the receipt of the instrument of denunciation and of the date of its deposit.

3. A denunciation shall take effect one year, or such longer period as may be specified in the instrument, after its deposit.

REVISION CONFERENCE

Article V

1. A Conference for the purpose of revising this Convention or the regulations or both may be convened by the Organisation.

2. The Organisation shall convene a Conference of Contracting Parties for the purpose of revising this Convention or the Regulations or both at the request of not less than one-third of the Contracting Parties.

AMENDMENTS

Article VI

1. Any amendment to the Regulations proposed by a Contracting Party shall be considered in the Organisation at the request of that Party.

2. If adopted by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting in the Maritime Safety Committee of the Organisation, such amendment shall be communicated to all Contracting Parties and Members of the Organisation at least six months prior to its consideration by the Assembly of the Organisation. Any Contracting Party which is not a Member of the Organisation shall be entitled to participate when the amendment is considered by the Assembly.

3. If adopted by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting in the Assembly, the amendment shall be communicated by the Secretary-General to all Contracting Parties for their acceptance.

4. Such an amendment shall enter into force on a date to be determined by the Assembly at the time of its adoption unless, by a prior date determined by the Assembly at the same time, more than one-third of the Contracting Parties notify the Organisation of their objection to the amendment. Determination by the Assembly of the dates referred to in this paragraph shall be by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting.

5. On entry into force any amendment shall, for all Contracting Parties which have not objected to the amendment, replace and supersede any previous provision to which the amendment refers.

6. The Secretary-General shall inform all Contracting Parties and Members of the Organisation of any request and communication under this Article and the date on which any amendment enters into force.

TERRITORIAL APPLICATION

Article III

1. The United Nations in cases where they are the administering authority for a territory, or any Contracting Party responsible for the international relations of a territory, may at any time by notification in writing to the Secretary-General of the Organisation (hereinafter referred to as “the Secretary-General”), extend the application of this Convention to such a territory.

2. The present Convention shall, upon the date of receipt of the notification or from such other date as may be specified in the notification, extend to the territory named therein.

3. Any notification made in accordance with paragraph 1 of this Article may be withdrawn in respect of any territory mentioned in that notification and the extension of this Convention to that territory shall cease to apply after one year or such longer period as may be specified at the time of the withdrawal.

4. The Secretary-General shall inform all Contracting Parties of the notification of any extension or withdrawal of any extension communicated under this Article.

DECLARATIONS, RESERVATIONS AND STATEMENTS

Argentina

The depositary received the following communication dated 12 August 1986 from the Argentine delegation to the International Maritime Organization:

[translation] “ . . . the Argentine Government rejects the extension made by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland of the application to the Malvinas Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands of the . . . Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, as amended . . . and reaffirms the right of sovereignty of the Argentine Republic over those archipelagos which form part of its national territory.

The General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted resolutions 2065(XX), 3160(XXVIII), 31/49, 37/9, 38/12 and 39/6 which recognize the existence of a sovereignty dispute relating to the question of the Malvinas Islands, urging the Argentine Republic and the United Kingdom to resume negotiations in order to find, as soon as possible, a peaceful and definitive solution to the dispute through the good offices of the Secretary-General of the United Nations who is requested to inform the General Assembly on the progress made. Similarly, the General Assembly of the United Nations at its fortieth session adopted resolution 40/21 of 27 November 1985 which again urges both parties to resume the said negotiations.”

Canada

The instrument of accession of Canada was accompanied by the following declaration (in the English language):

“The Government of Canada considers that the provisions of rule 10, ‘Traffic Separation Schemes’, do not provide for compulsory use of the adopted schemes. The Government of Canada considers that the compulsory routeing of ships is necessary to avoid collisions between ships and the resulting damage to the marine environment.

The Government of Canada notes that there are no exceptions to rule 10(b) (c) and (h) for vessels engaged in fishing with nets, lines, trawls, trolling lines or other apparatus, or for vessels engaged in special operations such as survey, cable, buoy, pipeline or salvage operations, and that the exceptions in rule 10(e) are not broad enough adequately to provide for vessels engaged in special operations. The Government of Canada considers that the practical application of rule 10 would be complicated without realistic exceptions for fishing vessels and for vessels engaged in special operations.

The Government of Canada therefore does not consider that it is prohibited from providing for the compulsory use of traffic separation schemes or providing for such exceptions to rule 10(b), (c), (e) and (h).”

Cuba

The instrument of accession of the Republic of Cuba contained the following declarations (in the Spanish language):

[translation] “The Government of the Republic of Cuba considers that the provisions of article II of the Convention, notwithstanding the fact that it deals with matters of interest for all States, are discriminatory in nature in that they withhold from a number of States the right of signature and accession, which is contrary to the principle of universality.

The Government of the Republic of Cuba considers that the application of the provisions contained in article II of the Convention is at variance with the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples contained in resolution 1514(XV) adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 14 December 1960, which proclaims the necessity of putting a speedy and unconditional end to colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.”

Czechoslovakia

The instrument of accession of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was accompanied by the following declaration (in the English language):

“ . . . that the provisions of article II, paragraph 2 of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea—COLREG (London 1972) prevents some States from becoming parties to the Convention. It is therefore of the opinion that the Convention should be opened to all the interested countries in keeping with the principle of equal sovereignty of States.

The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic deems it also necessary to declare that the provisions of article III of the Convention, dealing with the extension of its validity to territories for whose international relations the party to the Convention is responsible, is at variance with the United Nations General Assembly Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (resolution 1514(XV) of 14 December 1960) which proclaimed the necessity of putting a speedy and unconditional end to colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.”

By a communication dated 13 June 1995 the depositary was notified that the Czech Republic, which is a Party to the above-mentioned Convention by virtue of its succession to the former Czechoslovakia, considers henceforth the declaration pertaining to articles II, paragraph 2 and III which accompanied the instrument of accession of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic as obsolete and having lost any relevance.

German Democratic Republic

The instrument of accession of the German Democratic Republic was accompanied by the following declaration (in the German language):

[translation] “The Government of the German Democratic Republic considers that the provisions of article II of the Convention are inconsistent with the principle that all States pursuing their policies in accordance with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations shall have the right to become parties to conventions affecting the interests of all States.

The position of the Government of the German Democratic Republic on article III of the Convention, as far as the application of the Convention to colonial and other dependent territories is concerned, is governed by the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples (resolution 1514(XV) of 14 December 1960) proclaiming the necessity of bringing a speedy and unconditional end to colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.”

Hungary

The instrument of accession of the Hungarian People’s Republic was accompanied by the following statement and declaration (in the English language):

“The Presidential Council of the Hungarian People’s Republic declares that article II, paragraph (2) of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea of 1972, which does not allow some States to become a Party to the Convention, is of discriminative nature. The Convention regulates such questions which concern all States and, therefore, under the principle of sovereign equality of States, it should be open for all States without any restriction and discrimination.

The Presidential Council of the Hungarian People’s Republic also declares that article III of the Convention is at variance with the UN General Assembly’s resolution No. 1514(XV) of 14 December 1960 on the granting of independence to the colonial countries and peoples, which declared the necessity of the unconditional elimination of all forms of colonialism.”

Israel

The depositary received the following communication dated 3 December 1979 from the Ambassador of Israel in London:

“The instrument of acceptance deposited by the Government of Kuwait was accompanied by a statement of a political character in respect of Israel. In the view of the Government of Israel, this Convention is not the proper place for making such political pronouncements. Moreover, the said declaration cannot in any way affect whatever obligations are binding upon the State of Kuwait under general international law or under particular conventions. The Government of Israel will, in so far as concerns the substance of the matter, adopt towards the Government of Kuwait an attitude of complete reciprocity.”

Kuwait

The instrument of acceptance of the State of Kuwait was accompanied by the following Understanding (in the English language):

“It is understood that the ratification of the State of Kuwait of the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea and ‘Regulations’ attached thereto, done at London, on the 20th of October, 1972, does not in any way mean recognition of Israel by the State of Kuwait. Furthermore, no treaty relations will arise between the State of Kuwait and Israel.”

Romania

The instrument of accession of the Socialist Republic of Romania was accompanied by the following statements (in the French language):

[translation] “(a) The Council of State of the Socialist Republic of Romania considers that the provisions of rule 18(2) of the Convention are not in accord with the principle whereby international treaties, the objectives and aims of which are of concern to the international community as a whole, should be open to participation by all States.

(b) The Council of State of the Socialist Republic of Romania considers that the maintenance in a state of dependence of certain territories, to which the provisions of article III of the Convention refer, is not in accord with the Charter of the United Nations and the documents adopted by the United Nations concerning the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples, including the Declaration on the principles of international law affecting friendly relations and co-operation between States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution 2625(XXV) of 1970, which solemnly proclaims the right of States to encourage achievement of the principle of the equality of rights of peoples and their right to take their own decisions, with a view to putting a swift end to colonialism.”

Syrian Arab Republic

The instrument of accession of the Syrian Arab Republic contains the following sentence (in the Arabic language):

[translation] “. . . the acceptance of the Syrian Arab Republic of the regulation stipulated in the said Convention and its ratification does not imply in any way the recognition in Israel and does not lead to its engagement with it in any dealings that may be regulated by the said Convention.”

Tunisia

On 6 April 1994, the Secretary-General of IMO received communication of the following reservations:

“The Tunisian shipping administration may exempt an existing vessel authorised to fly the Tunisian flag and less than 50 metres in length from applying the provisions of new paragraph (d) of Annex I, section 3—‘Horizontal positioning and spacing of lights’ of the amendments to the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972, which are set out in the Annex to resolution A.736(18) of the International Maritime Organisation.

For the purpose of granting this exemption, a vessel built before the date of entry into force of the above-mentioned amendments shall be considered to be an existing vessel.”

U.S.S.R.

The instrument of accession of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was accompanied by the following declarations (in the Russian language):

[translation] “The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics declares that article II, paragraph 2, of the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, under which certain States are precluded from becoming parties to that Convention, is of a discriminatory character, and considers that, in accordance with the principle of the sovereign equality of States, the Convention should be open to participation by all interested States without discrimination or restriction.

The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics also deems it necessary to declare that the provisions of article III of the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, concerning the extension of its application to a territory for whose international relations a Contracting Party is responsible, are out-dated and contrary to the Declaration of the General Assembly of the United Nations on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples (resolution 1514(XV) of 14 December 1960), which proclaimed the necessity of bringing to a speedy and unconditional end colonialism in all its forms and manifestations.”

United Kingdom

The depositary received the following communication dated 3 February 1987 from the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office:

“The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland cannot accept the statement made by the Argentine Republic as regards the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland have no doubt as to United Kingdom sovereignty over the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and, accordingly, their right to extend the application of the Treaties to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Equally, while noting the Argentine reference to the provisions of Article IV of the Antarctic Treaty signed at Washington on 1 December 1959, the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland have no doubt as to the sovereignty of the United Kingdom over the British Antarctic Territory, and to the right to extend the application of the Treaties in question to that Territory.”

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