Bangladesh has committed to ratifying the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKC) in the coming weeks. This move is expected to finally bring the Convention into force, more than two decades after its adoption in 2009.
The Bangladeshi government made this commitment during a visit in early May to some recycling facilities in the country by a high-level delegation with representatives from the Norwegian authorities, the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO). Bangladesh is the world’s leading ship recycling power, responsible for scrapping 42.7% of the recycled tonnage in 2022, according to Clarksons.
For BIMCO’s Secretary General and CEO, David Loosley, “the need for facilities that comply with the requirements of the Hong Kong Convention in major ship recycling powers like India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan is crucial to meet the expected demand for ships to be recycled in the next 10 years.” The announcement of Bangladesh’s upcoming ratification of the HKC is great news for BIMCO, added Loosley.
Several facilities in major ship recycling powers have made significant efforts to modernize. BIMCO has long been calling for those facilities that already meet the HKC requirements to be included in the EU list of authorized facilities in order to increase the necessary recycling capacity that aligns with European standards.
According to BIMCO’s Secretary General, “the potential to contribute to the circular economy is too significant to miss out on. The ship recycling industry provides thousands of jobs and enables steel reuse, but it must comply with international safety and environmental standards, and shipowners must choose to recycle only in facilities that meet these standards.” The entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention is a crucial step in ensuring that this is done safely, concluded Loosley.
The objective of the HKC is to ensure that the recycling of ships at the end of their operational lives does not pose unnecessary risks to public health, workers’ safety, or the environment. Among other requirements, it mandates a specific hazardous materials inventory for each ship sold for recycling. Additionally, the facilities where these operations take place must provide a recycling plan for each ship based on its characteristics and inventory.
The Convention will enter into force 24 months after it has been ratified by 15 States representing at least 40% of the world’s gross tonnage of merchant shipping and whose ship recycling volume during the preceding 10 years accounts for at least 3% of the combined GT of the fleets of those States. The ratification by Bangladesh has been pivotal for the treaty to come into effect.