Paving the Way for Safe Ship Recycling: Bangladesh and Liberia Ratify Hong Kong Convention
Jun. 29 2023
The recent ratification of the Hong Kong Convention on the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 by Bangladesh and Liberia marks a landmark achievement in the maritime industry. This significant development signifies a crucial step forward in ensuring the safe and responsible disposal of ships at the end of their operational lives.
The ratification process was meticulously orchestrated, given the urgency resulting from declining recycling numbers. Recognizing the importance of swift action, high-level delegations from influential countries, such as Norway and Japan, have actively engaged with the Bangladesh government to facilitate the ratification. These efforts were supported by the Industry Working Group on ship recycling, led by ICS (International Chamber of Shipping) and including BIMCO, INTERTANKO, RINA, and other industry stakeholders.
Liberia, having been ready to ratify for some time, strategically waited for Bangladesh to fulfill the complex entry-into-force requirements of the Convention. This synchronized effort demonstrates a commitment to global environmental and safety standards within the maritime industry.
The Hong Kong Convention, aimed at mitigating risks to human health, safety, and the environment during ship recycling, sets forth regulations covering various aspects. These include the design, construction, operation, and preparation of ships to ensure safe and environmentally sound recycling practices without compromising operational efficiency. The Convention also mandates the safe operation of ship recycling facilities, establishing an enforcement mechanism encompassing certification and reporting requirements.
Under the Convention, ship recycling facilities will be expected to develop and adhere to a Ship Recycling Facility Plan following published guidelines. National authorities will play a vital role in ensuring that facilities within their jurisdiction comply with the Convention's provisions.
Upon entry into force, ships destined for recycling will be required to carry an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM), tailored to each vessel. An appendix to the Convention provides a list of prohibited or restricted hazardous materials in shipyards, ship repair yards, and ships of the Convention's signatories. Ships will undergo initial surveys to verify the IHM, periodic surveys throughout their operational lifespan, and a final survey before recycling.
While the Convention officially enters into force on June 26, 2025, there is now a two-year preparation period before the requirements of the convention come into force for newbuilds, ships going for recycling and recycling facilities on 26 June 2025. For existing ships there is a further maximum five-year period to develop the Inventory of Hazardous Materials
BV Solutions M&O recognizes the significance of the Hong Kong Convention and its implications for shipowners and the maritime industry as a whole. As a trusted partner, BV Solutions M&O is well-positioned to provide comprehensive support and advisory services to clients seeking to navigate the requirements of the Convention. Our experienced team of experts can assist in developing Ship Recycling Facility Plans, conducting IHM surveys, and ensuring compliance with the Convention's regulations.
With the ratification of the Hong Kong Convention by Bangladesh and Liberia, the maritime industry takes a significant stride towards enhancing safety, protecting the environment, and promoting sustainable ship recycling practices. BV Solutions M&O remains committed to supporting its clients in achieving compliance with the Convention, enabling them to uphold the highest standards of environmental responsibility and operational efficiency.
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