Law of Tug and Tow and Offshore Contracts
The BIMCO/ISU standard form contracts for wreck removal and marine services: “wreckhire 2010”; “wreckstage 2010” and “wreckfixed 2010”
An important element of the services rendered by the towage and salvage industry and the offshore services industry consists of wreck removal or similar activities following a collision or other casualty, or upon the cessation of hostilities. The importance of wreck removal in the offshore sector has been increased by the International Convention for the Removal of Wrecks 2007, also known as the Nairobi Convention or “ICRW” (as to which see: Professor N. Gaskell and C. Forrest, “The Wreck Removal Convention 2007”  LMCLQ 60). This enables coastal states to take proportionate measures to remove wrecks which are located in their Exclusive Economic Zone or EEZ (see Article 2), if those wrecks constitute a danger to navigation or to the marine environment (see Articles 1(5) and 6). The Convention in addition to establishing the liability of the shipowner for his wreck and its removal (Articles 9 and 10) requires shipowners to obtain insurance cover for the costs of wreck removal (Article 12) and coastal states have the power of direct action against insurers. The insurance provisions apply to vessels of 300 GT and over and the definition of wreck includes objects that have been on board ships (Article 1(4)). Contracting states have the option under the Convention to extend the convention to wrecks within their territorial waters (Article 3). This is an attractive option and has caused more states to adopt the convention, because of the provisions for compulsory insurance and the right of direct action against the insurer. In the United Kingdom, the Wreck Removal Convention Act 2011 received Royal Assent on 12 July 2011 and entered into force on 14 April 2014, 12 months following the date on which 10 member states have signed it; at the date of writing some 16 states have adopted the Convention. The first report on the functioning of the Act (by the Secretary of State for Transport to the Transport Select Committee: Post-Legislative Assessment of the Wreck Removal Convention Act 2011 (July 2016)) offers a useful perspective into the importance of the powers given to a state party under the Convention in the event of a major maritime casualty. For a forthcoming major modern work on the Convention (in addition to his existing article at  LMCLQ 60) and the law of wreck, see Professor N. Gaskell, Wreck Law, publication of which is due in 2018.