Germany Accedes to Ship Recycling Convention
Germany is the latest country to accede to the IMO's treaty for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling – the Hong Kong Convention.
Germany’s accession marks the 13th contracting State to the Convention out of the 15 required as the first of three conditions for the Convention’s entry into force. These 13 countries represent 29.42 percent of the world merchant shipping tonnage - only 10.58 percent less than the total required to satisfy the second condition of the Hong Kong Convention. The third and final condition requires that the combined maximum annual ship recycling volume of the countries that have ratified or acceded to the Convention is at least three percent of the gross tonnage of their combined fleets. The third condition will be met when two of the four remaining major ship recycling countries - India, Bangladesh, China or Pakistan - accede.
The Hong Kong Convention was adopted by Member States of the IMO over a decade ago with the goal to ensure that “ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment.” Under the treaty, ships to be sent for recycling are required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship. Ship recycling yards are required to provide a Ship Recycling Plan, specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.
Dr. Nikos Mikelis, non-executive director of GMS and former head of the IMO’s Ship Recycling section, said: “With Germany’s accession, seven countries have acceded to the Convention in the last six months, which is one more than those that acceded in the previous nine years. The acceleration in the recognition amongst shipping nations of the need for the Convention to enter into force the soonest possible probably reflects growing concerns over the enforcement of the regional European Ship Recycling Regulation since the beginning of this year.
“What remains now is for two of the major ship recycling nations to also accede to the Convention before the ship recycling industry can start operating under a uniform global regulatory regime. India, most of whose recycling yards have invested in infrastructure, training, and working procedures and have been certificated by IACS classification societies as compliant with Hong Kong Convention, now holds the key to the Convention’s entry into force.”