There are three main options to consider with respect to the Nairobi Convention:
1) the status quo where Canada would not ratify or accede to the Convention;
2) ratify the Convention without extension to Canada's internal waters and territorial sea; or
3) ratify the convention with extension to Canada's internal waters and territorial sea.
The status quo would perpetuate the ambiguity surrounding Canada's rights to take appropriate measures to respond to shipwrecks in its EEZ that pose a hazard to safe navigation. It would also be inconsistent with Canada's multilateral approach to marine policy that recognizes the importance of international conventions that facilitate international shipping through the establishment of uniform rules among maritime trading partners. The status quo would also not solidify the liability of shipowners for costs associated with the locating, marking and removal of wreck in the area immediately beyond Canada's territorial sea.
Ratifying or acceding to the Nairobi Convention without extending it to the internal waters and territorial sea would resolve the current ambiguity surrounding Canada's rights and obligations regarding shipwrecks within its EEZ, as well as the rights and obligations of shipowners and flag states. It would preserve Canada's right to take any measure it sees fit to respond to any navigational or environmental hazards within its territory. However, Canada would not benefit from the application to its territorial sea of compulsory insurance and direct action provisions of the Nairobi Convention.
Ratifying or acceding to the Nairobi Convention and extending it to Canada's internal waters and territorial sea would provide the benefits associated with compulsory insurance and direct action provisions of the Convention anywhere in Canadian waters including our EEZ. It would also facilitate Transport Canada's future intervention in cases of wrecks and derelict vessels that may not be a hazard to navigation, but do pose a risk to the marine environment, tourism or other economic interests. It would further ensure that Canada's laws on the rights and obligations of shipowners, flag states and the Government of Canada regarding the shipwrecks within Canada's internal waters, territorial sea and EEZ are consistent with modern international rules.
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