The increasing number of shipwrecks globally, causes hazards to navigation, which potentially may endanger other vessels and their crews. Many of the wrecks also have the potential to cause substantial damage to the marine and coastal environments, and the removal costs on the coastal nation involved are often substantial.

By 2009 over 1300 abandoned wrecks have accumulated along the coastlines of the world, making this problem an almost daily occurrence .

The Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks 2007, no yet into force (requires 10 states to ratify without reservation), will provide the legal basis for States to remove shipwrecks that may have the potential to affect adversely the safety of lives, goods and property at sea, se well as the marine environment, and will make ship-owners financially liable for the removal.

This convention is of course important in reducing hazards that can threaten the safety of ships and safety and health of crew and people along the coastline. However, there are no direct implications for maritime physicians in this convention, although the convention will be an important tool to reduce these hazards to health described above.