Progress towards the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (2009) has been slow. However, Turkey, one of the world's leading ship recyclers, has again shown its willingness to meet the requirements of the Convention with another yard achieving a statement of compliance.
ClassNK issued the statement to a ship recycling facility in Izmir, Turkey, Isiksan Ship Recycling and Trading this week. Lloyd's Register has already issued six such statements to other yards.
There are only 22 yards in Turkey, and the Turkish Administration has been proactive, having already taken its ratification of the Convention through its Parliament. The Turkish Ambassador is expected to deposit the instrument of ratification at IMO soon. Furthermore, the Turkish Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication has played an active role in the drafting of the Convention.
Although the Hong Kong Convention has yet to enter into force, Isiksan has carried out substantial improvements to its facility in a bid toward safer and greener ship recycling as well as developed the Ship Recycling Facility Plan required for a competent authority’s certification according to the Convention.
The Hong Kong Convention intends to address all the issues around ship recycling, including the fact that ships sold for scrapping may contain environmentally hazardous substances such as asbestos, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, ozone-depleting substances and others. It also addresses concerns raised about the working and environmental conditions at many of the world's ship recycling locations.
The text of the Hong Kong Convention was developed over three and a half years, with input from IMO Member States and relevant non-governmental organizations, and in co-operation with the International Labour Organization and the Parties to the Basel Convention.
Regulations in the new Convention cover: the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships; 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.
Upon entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, which will be specific to each ship. An appendix to the Convention provides a list of hazardous materials the installation or use of which is prohibited or restricted in shipyards, ship repair yards, and ships of Parties to the Convention. Ships will be required to have an initial survey to verify the inventory of hazardous materials, additional surveys during the life of the ship and a final survey prior to recycling.
The Convention will enter into force 24 months after the date on which the following conditions are met:
* Ratification by 15 states,
* Representation by 40 percent of world merchant shipping (by gross tonnage), and
* A combined maximum annual ship recycling volume not less than three percent of the combined tonnage of the ratifying states.
So far, Belgium, Congo, France, Panama Denmark and Norway have ratified the Convention. Some believe the Convention’s entry into force could be nearly 10 years away, after many of the world’s most asbestos-laden ships have already been recycled. Others more optimistically expect its entry into force in five years.