Denmark to Ratify Hong Kong Convention
The Danish Minister for the Environment and Food has taken the first steps towards implementing rules for the safe recycling of vessels through the ratification of the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009.
Denmark now expects to ratify the Convention in the spring of 2017.
Worldwide, approximately 1,000 merchant vessels are being scrapped every year. The vast majority of vessels are sent to Asia to be dismantled, and welfare and environmental conditions in countries such as India and Bangladesh have come under focus as may not be comparable in standard to those expected in Europe.
The Minister, Esben Lunde Larsen, says: “It can be overwhelming to see the conditions under which vessels are scrapped at the shipyards in Asia. Therefore, it has been a major priority to adapt the Danish rules so we can ratify the Hong Kong Convention, which helps to establish global standards for safe ship recycling. It should send a strong signal to other countries - the more countries ratify the convention, the faster the Convention will enter into force.”
According to the Danish Shipowners’ Association, ten Danish operated vessels are in average being recycled every year. A small part is recycled in Denmark, and the rest is recycled mainly at shipyards in India, China and Turkey.
Parts of the Convention have already been adopted in the E.U. with the Ship Recycling Regulation, and with Denmark's ratification the possibility of more countries doing the same increases.
“It is very positive that the Minister now ensures that Denmark will ratify the Convention,” says Anne H. Steffensen, Director General and CEO of the Danish Shipowners’ Association. “Up to 70 percent of the world's ship recycling takes place in third world countries, so global rules are essential to ensure that recycling is done in a responsible manner. We must therefore push for more countries to follow suit so that the Convention can finally enter into force. Until that happens, we encourage all our shipping companies to meet the future requirements voluntarily.”
For the Convention to enter into force, it requires that it must be ratified by at least 15 countries whose combined merchant fleet represents at least 40 percent of the global merchant fleet’s gross tonnage. Both major flag states and the major ship recycling states must ratify in order to meet the requirements of the convention.
To date, only Norway, Congo, France and Belgium have ratified the Convention.
In 2015, 768 vessels were globally sold for recycling. 469 of these (equivalent to approximately 60 percent) were recycled on a beach in Bangladesh, India or Pakistan (Source: Shipbreaking Platform annual report for 2015).