On July 2, 2014, France deposited its instrument of ratification in respect of the 2009 Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (the Hong Kong Convention) with the general secretariat of the IMO.
This convention is an important step toward ship dismantling that is safe for workers and environmentally friendly. It is notably aimed at prohibiting or limiting the use of potentially dangerous materials from the ship’s design stage and throughout its operational life, and at encouraging safe recycling methods in order to ensure sound waste management.
To achieve this, it provides for the establishment of a vessel monitoring system and the issuing of international certificates stating that the vessel has an inventory of potentially hazardous materials, or that the vessel is ready for recycling. Potential dismantling facilities must be subject to a system of authorization that includes certain requirements. This system is reinforced by the adoption of dissuasive national penalties for infringements.
France welcomes the fact that it is one of the first states to have deposited its instrument of ratification in respect of this convention and hopes that it can enter into force as swiftly as possible. Current ship recycling practices generate concerns with respect to the safety and health of workers as well as with respect to the damage caused to the environment by the uncontrolled release of toxic substances.
Norway and Congo are the only other countries to have ratified the convention to date.