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Green Ship Recycling

Green Ship

End-of-life ships should not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment when being recycled. The UK Chamber of shipping supports the responsible recycling of ships at yards and believes that all ships worldwide should be recycled in facilities compliant with the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, The “Hong Kong Convention” or when applicable the EU Ship Recycling Regulation.

International Maritime Organization

On the 15th May 2009, the International Maritime Organization adopted the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The Hong Kong Convention comes into force 24 months after ratification by 15 states, representing 40% of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, and combined maximum annual ship recycling volume not less than 3% (during the preceding 10 years) of their combined tonnage.

The Hong Kong Convention aims to address all issues related to ship recycling. Ships may contain environmentally hazardous materials such as asbestos, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, and the Hong Kong Convention aims to ensure that upon a ship being scrapped, these substances are dealt with in the most environmentally sound manner. In addition to environmental hazards, the Convention addresses concerns about the worker's safety whilst deconstructing vessels at ship recycling yards.

Ships being sent for recycling require to carry an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) which will be unique to each ship. The IHM details what hazardous materials are onboard and is a key part of the sound recycling of ships.

European Union

In 2013 the European Union adopted its own Ship Recycling Regulation to ensure the sound recycling of EU flagged ships. Coming into force at the end of 2018, it entailed that EU flagged ships may only send vessels for recycling at EU designated recycling yards.

For a recycling shipyard to be included in the European List, it must take into account the relevant guidelines from the Hong Kong Convention, the International Maritime Organization, the International Labour Organization, the Basel Convention and the Stockholm Convention.

The Basel Convention

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes was adopted in March 1989. The purpose of the convention is to protect human health and the environment against adverse effects of hazardous waste.

In addition to the Basel Convention, the Basel Ban Amendment was adopted in 1995. The Ban Amendment ensures that hazardous wastes covered by the convention cannot be transported from an OECD or EU country to a non-OECD country.