Hong Kong ship recycling Convention set to enter into force
The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (the Hong Kong Convention) is set to enter into force within 24 months, after Bangladesh and Liberia became Contracting States to the Convention.
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 risks to human health, safety and to the environment.
The Hong Kong Convention will enter into force 24 months after the following required criteria have been met:
- not less than 15 States;
- not less than 40% of the world’s merchant shipping by gross tonnage; and
- ship recycling capacity of not less than 3% of the gross tonnage of the combined merchant shipping of those States mentioned above.
These conditions have now been met. The Hong Kong Convention will enter into force on 26 June 2025.
Bangladesh is one of the world’s largest ship recycling countries by capacity. Liberia is one of the world’s largest flag States by tonnage.
Secretary-General Kitack Lim commended Bangladesh and Liberia for their accessions to the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.
“I congratulate Bangladesh and Liberia for depositing their instruments of accession this June, triggering within 24 months the entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, and the global regime for safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships. This is a momentous day for IMO, and it is indeed a historical development for the international shipping industry, for the marine environment, and especially for workers and local communities in ship recycling countries globally.”
“Bangladesh as a major ship-recycling country, has made huge strides in recent years in improving its ship recycling regulation and standards to meet the Hong Kong Convention requirements. My sincere thanks to the Government of Bangladesh for this timely decision of accession,”. Secretary General Mr. Lim said.
The Hong Kong Convention was adopted at a diplomatic conference held in Hong Kong, China, in 2009. It is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and to the environment. It embraces the “cradle to grave” concept, addressing all environmental and safety aspects relating to ship recycling, including the responsible management and disposal of associated waste streams in a safe and environmentally sound manner.
The Convention places responsibilities and obligations on all parties concerned – including shipowners, ship building yards, ship recycling facilities, flag States, port States, recycling States.
Upon entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry onboard an Inventory of Hazardous Materials. Ship recycling facilities authorized by Competent Authorities will be required to provide a Ship Recycling Plan, specific to each individual vessel to be recycled. Additionally, Governments will be required to ensure that recycling facilities under their jurisdiction comply with the Convention.
Hong Kong Convention status
The Hong Kong Convention now has the following contracting parties: Bangladesh, Belgium, Republic of the Congo, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malta, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia, Spain, Türkiye.
The 22 Contracting States to the Convention represent approximately 45.81% of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping. The combined annual ship recycling volume of the Contracting States during the preceding 10 years amounts to 23,848,453 gross tonnage, equivalent to 3.31% of the required recycling volume.