IMO shipbreaking

Turkey Ratifies Hong Kong Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Shipbreaking

Mike Schuler
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January 31, 2019

Photo: International Maritime Organization

Turkey has ratified the IMO Hong Kong Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships, becoming the first of the five major shipbreaking nations to ratify the treaty.

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009, which is aimed at ensuring that ships sent for scrap do not pose a risk to human health and safety or to the environment.

The Hong Kong Convention addresses issues related to ship recycling by creating a set of standards covering the handling of hazardous materials, the design and construction of ships, recycling facilities, and the preparation of ships sent for scrap.

Adopted in 2009, the Convention 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 its ratification, Turkey becomes the seventh State to ratify the Hong Kong Convention, joining Belgium, Congo, Denmark, France, Norway and Panama. According to the IMO, the seven States now represent more than 20% of world merchant shipping tonnage and the combined annual ship recycling volume.

In its ratification instrument, Turkey declares that it will require explicit approval of the Ship Recycling Plan before a ship may be recycled in authorized Ship Recycling Facilities.

Along with Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan, Turkey ranks among one of the top five ship recycling countries in the world. Between them, the five countries account for more than 90% of all ships recycled globally by tonnage.

Although not yet entered into force, the Hong Kong Convention is already serving as a driving force for shipbreaking yards to upgrade facilities to comply with its standards, and serves as the basis for the European Ship Recycling Regulation. There are even a number of yards now in Alang, India, a shipbreaking hub notoriously known for its poor conditions and polluting practices, that have received Statements of Compliance with the requirements set out in the Hong Kong Convention.

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