Environmentally Friendly Ship Recycling
Text by Mr. Mario Eisenhut, October 2023
Ship recycling is a critical phase in a ship's lifecycle but carries significant risks.
Historically, many ships were scrapped in countries with lower environmental and safety standards, leading to severe environmental impacts and health risks for workers.
The International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, also known as the Hong Kong Convention, is a significant international agreement aimed at making ship recycling practices safer and more environmentally friendly.
This text aims to shed light on the background and objectives of the convention, the importance of Bangladesh and Liberia joining, and the expected impact on the global ship recycling industry.
Historically, improper ship recycling practices led to significant environmental damage. Toxic materials contained within ships were often released into marine waters, leading to ocean pollution and a threat to marine ecosystems.
The health of workers in ship recycling facilities has often been endangered due to exposure to toxic substances and hazardous working conditions. By implementing the convention, the health and safety of people in this industry are protected.
The Hong Kong Convention was developed to ensure that ship recycling practices at the end of a ship's life do not pose unnecessary risks to the environment, human health, and safety. It aims to improve standards and procedures for ship recycling worldwide and ensure that ships are recycled safely and environmentally responsibly at the end of their lifecycle.
The convention promotes transparency and accountability in the ship recycling industry, which is much needed. It ensures that the contracting parties take the necessary measures to ensure that ship recycling facilities comply with international standards.
Sustainable practices in ship recycling are crucial to conserve natural resources and minimize negative environmental impacts. The convention encourages the sustainable use of materials from recycled ships.
The agreement fosters cooperation among different countries, demonstrating the international community's willingness to take joint action to address environmental impacts and health risks.
Given these factors, the urgency of implementing the Hong Kong Convention is undeniable.
The Hong Kong Convention was adopted on May 15, 2009, and enters into force 24 months after ratification by 15 states representing 40 percent of the world's gross tonnage of merchant ships and with a combined annual ship recycling capacity of at least 3 percent of their combined tonnage.
On June 26, 2023, Bangladesh and Liberia joined the Hong Kong Convention.
The accession of Bangladesh and Liberia represents significant milestones on the path to implementing the convention because Bangladesh is one of the largest ship recycling countries in the world, and Liberia is one of the largest flag states in the world by tonnage.
The accession of these countries substantially increases the number of contracting parties and tonnage coverage, meeting the conditions for the convention to enter into force.
The convention includes comprehensive regulations for the design, operation, and certification of ship recycling facilities, as well as the review of hazardous materials inventories on board ships. Guidelines are being developed to support the implementation of the convention and ensure that recycling practices worldwide comply with international standards.
The Hong Kong Convention includes a comprehensive set of guidelines developed to assist contracting parties in implementing the provisions of the convention.
These guidelines provide detailed instructions and recommendations on how to put the requirements of the convention into practice.
Some of the key guidelines provided under the Hong Kong Convention include:
Guidelines for the Preparation of Ship Recycling Plans:
These guidelines offer clear guidance on creating recycling plans for ships. Each ship has unique features and inventories that must be considered when planning for safe and environmentally sound recycling. The guidelines provide a structured method for creating these plans to ensure that all relevant aspects are covered.
Guidelines for the Review of Hazardous Materials Inventories:
One of the crucial requirements of the convention is the review of hazardous materials inventories on board ships to ensure they are properly identified and handled. The guidelines for this review establish the procedures and requirements to ensure that no hazardous materials are overlooked.
Guidelines for Ship Inspections:
Compliance with the provisions of the Hong Kong Convention requires regular inspections of ships and recycling facilities. These guidelines provide clear instructions for inspections, including initial inspections to confirm the hazardous materials inventory, renewing inspections during the ship's life, and final inspections before recycling.
Guidelines for the Certification of Recycling Facilities:
To ensure that ship recycling facilities comply with the convention's standards, clear certification procedures are required. These guidelines set out the requirements for the certification of recycling facilities and describe the examination processes to ensure compliance.
Guidelines for the Management of Recycling Facilities:
Proper management of ship recycling facilities is crucial to ensure environmental and safety standards are met. These guidelines provide instructions for facility management and give clear guidance on safety and environmental protection aspects.
Providing these guidelines is crucial to ensuring the effective implementation of the Hong Kong Convention. They offer contracting parties clear steps and procedures to meet the requirements of the convention and ensure that ship recycling practices are safe, environmentally sound, and transparent. The precise implementation and adherence to these guidelines will significantly reduce risks to the environment, human health, and safety in the ship recycling industry.
Mr. Eisenhut is an experienced professional in the field of risk management and business intelligence, always striving to provide the clients with the best possible solutions for their needs. With his expertise in the areas of security situation reports, and crisis early warning, he helps companies minimize risks and optimize their business processes.
Mr. Eisenhut strengths lie in analyzing complex data and developing strategies to improve business operations. He works closely with his clients to understand their individual needs and develop tailored solutions.
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