Chair of the Bonn Agreement

Claire Hughes, United Kingdom

As Director of His Majesty’s Coastguard since 2020, I am honoured to take over the Chair of the Bonn Agreement. Maritime pollution incidents continue to occur, and regional collaboration is key to prevent and combat them. The Bonn Agreement is an example of fruitful cooperation for more than 50 years. We need to maintain the high standards achieved while focusing on new challenges. Thus, during my chairmanship, I will enhance the implementation of the Bonn Agreement Strategic Action Plan BASAP 2019-2025 and the preparation of the future strategy.

The Bonn Agreement is making a huge effort to ensure that its regional monitoring activities will cover air emissions from shipping under Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention. But there are other priorities identified which also need further work such as pollution incidents involving hazardous and noxious substances, new oils, alternative fuels or lost containers

I am very much looking forward to working together with all the Bonn Agreement Contracting Parties to deliver our important work.

The Bonn Agreement

The Bonn Agreement is the mechanism by which ten Governments, together with the European Union, cooperate in dealing with pollution of the North Sea by oil and other harmful substances. The signatories to the Agreement are the Governments of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Kingdom of Denmark, the French Republic, the Federal Republic of Germany, the Republic of Ireland, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Kingdom of Norway, the Kingdom of Sweden, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Union. Spain was welcomed as a Bonn Agreement Contracting Party at a ministerial meeting in 2019.

The Bonn Agreement covers the Greater North Sea and its Wider Approaches. This area includes the North Sea proper, the Skagerrak, the English Channel and its approaches and other waters comprising the Irish Sea, the Celtic Sea, the Malin Sea, the Great Minch, the Little Minch, part of the Norwegian Sea, and parts of the North East Atlantic.

Inside About

Contracting Parties

10 different countries and the European Union work together as Contracting Parties to the Bonn Agreement.



The Bonn Agreement may also grant observer status to other States or International Intergovernmental Organisations.



The Bonn Agreement is the oldest regional agreement established by governments for responding to pollution incidents.


How the Bonn Agreement works

The work of the Bonn Agreement is formally governed by the Rules of Procedure.


North Sea

The Greater North Sea and its Wider Approaches is one of the busiest sea areas in the world with many commercial interests vying for space alongside the need for nature protection and space for recreational activities.



The Bonn Agreement Secretariat is based in London, United Kingdom.



The Bonn Agreement has several levels of policy that govern its operation. Firstly the Agreement itself, originally signed in 1969 and regularly updated since, which outlines the legal basis for the organisation and its work.



Seminar on Maritime Environmental Crimes 6-7 March 2018 at the Europa Hotel in Scheveningen The seminar is focusing on maritime environmental violations for non-compliance of MARPOL Annex II and VI.


Links to other organisations

Below are links to other maritime organisations and bodies