Panama Joins Hong Kong Convention

IMO meets to discuss the London Protocol Sept. 19 (courtesy IMO)

By The Maritime Executive 2016-09-20 19:07:54

Panama has acceded to the IMO's Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling, which guides ship design, operation and end-of-life management in order to reduce the environmental footprint and safety risks of shipbreaking. 

IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim accepted the accession from Panama's permanent representative to the IMO, H.E. Arsenio Dominguez, in a ceremonial meeting on Monday. It concludes a process that Panama began in January when its legislature took up a bill to enact the treaty. 

The addition of Panama's fleet brings the Convention much closer to entry into force. Panama is the largest flag state, representing 18 percent of global merchant tonnage. With the addition of the four other states which have signed the HKC, 20 percent of tonnage is now formally committed. Denmark intends to join early next year. 

The convention needs ratification by 15 states representing 40 percent of the world's tonnage; these states also need to meet a minimum level of ship recycling activity. 

IMO promotes London Protocol

Members and leadership of the International Maritime Organization gathered in London on Monday for a conference on the London Protocol, which broadly prohibits the disposal of waste at sea. (Certain materials are excluded from the ban, like dredge spoils, fish wastes, rocks and gravel from excavations and subsea CO2 storage). Secretary General Lim said that the Protocol is a valuable instrument but that there is still room for improvement – especially in increasing the number of participating states.

“I will continue to urge all IMO member governments to ratify the Protocol. This will extend and complete the task that the Parties set out to achieve and to enhance the protection of the marine environment for current and future generations. We need to work together to make sure that the London Protocol achieves a truly universal membership and becomes the preeminent regulatory regime, not just in spirit but also in terms of actual number of Contracting Parties,” Mr. Lim said.