FILE PHOTO: The Hong Kong Convention) is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment. Photo: Katiekk / Shutterstock
Tokyo-based classification society ClassNK has issued a Statement of Compliance to a ship recycling facility in Chittagong, Bangladesh, verifying that the yard is in line with Hong Kong Convention for safe and environmentally friendly recycling of ships.
The Statement of Compliance, awarded to PHP Ship Breaking and Recycling Industries, is the first issued by ClassNK to a facility in Bangladesh, which has become notorious for its unsafe shipbreaking practices and continued use of “beaching” method for the scrapping of old ships.
PHP in 2018 previously received a Statement of Compliance for the Hong Kong Convention from Italian classification society RINA, making it the first yard in Bangladesh to receive the recognition.
The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 is aimed at ensuring end-of-life ships do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and to the environment when recycled. The Convention covers the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships for dismantling; the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner; and the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling, incorporating certification and reporting requirements.
Although the Hong Kong Convention was adopted in 2009, it won’t enter into force until 24 months after ratification by 15 States representing no less than 40% of the world fleet’s tonnage and a combined maximum annual ship recycling volume of no less than 3 percent of their combined tonnage.
With India’s accession to the Convention last November, the number of States required has now been reached, but further tonnage and recycling volumes are needed before the convention can enter into force.
The world’s top five ship recycling countries – Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey – account for more than 98% of all ship recycling by gross tonnage worldwide, but so far only India and Turkey have ratified or acceded to the Convention.
According to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, Bangladesh accounted for accounted for 185 of the 744 end-of-life ships that were scrapped in 2018. The Platform that year counted 20 worker deaths and 12 severe injuries to workers in the Bangladeshi yards.
ClassNK says it has now issued 34 Statements of Compliance to ship recycling facilities around the globe.
“Upon completion of purely technical verifications, ClassNK has issued this HKC statement of compliance to the facility in Bangladesh,” commented Junichi Hirata, ClassNK General Manager of Innovation and Sustainability Department. “Acknowledging the efforts of the nation and its individual facilities and partners toward the ratification of HKC, I hope this step further will encourage safer and greener ship recycling practices following the HKC standard. As well as other ship recycling facilities with our SoCs, ClassNK will continue monitoring compliance by PHP through periodical audits.”
The Hong Kong Convention also serves as the basis for the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, requiring that commercial vessels flying the flag of an EU Member State be recycled at pre-approved list of ship recycling facilities. So far, only facilities in EU, the United States, and Turkey have been added to the list, despite international pressure to add yards in third-party countries such as India.
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