India, one of the world’s five major ship recycling countries, has acceded to the IMO Hong Kong Convention, the treaty that will set global standards for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling.

India’s accession brings this important convention a significant step closer to entering into force, with the required 15 States now party to it and with India’s ship recycling volume considerably contributing to the required recycling capacity.

The Hong Kong Convention1 covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships to ensure they can be recycled safely and in an environment-friendly way at the end of their lives.

It also deals with how ships should be prepared for their final voyage to a recycling facility, without compromising their safety or operational efficiency.

Under the Hong Kong Convention, ships sent for recycling are required to carry an inventory of all hazardous materials on board.

Ship recycling facilities are required to provide a “Ship Recycling Plan”, specifying how each ship will be recycled, based on its particular characteristics and its inventory of hazardous materials.

Welcoming India’s accession, IMO Secretary-General Lim urged other States, in particular those with a considerable ship recycling volume, to become Party to the treaty as soon as possible.

“What happens to ships at the end of their lifetime is an important global issue with major consequences for safety and the environment,” Lim said.

“I urge all countries yet to do so to ratify this important convention so it can enter into force and provide a consistent, global regulatory regime for this vital industry.”

The treaty will enter into force 24 months after three separate criteria have been met.

It must be ratified by 15 States – but these States must represent 40% of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, and a combined maximum annual ship recycling volume (during the preceding 10 years) of not less than 3% of their combined gross tonnage.

With India’s accession, the number of States required has now been reached, but further tonnage and recycling volumes are needed before the convention can enter into force.

The Contracting States at 28 November 2019 are: Belgium, Congo, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Serbia and Turkey.

They between them represent just over 30% of world merchant shipping tonnage.

The top five ship recycling countries in the world, between them accounting for more than 98% of all ship recycling by gross tonnage, are Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey.

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