Maritime Safety and Protection of the Environment

In 2019, the ratification by India, the largest ship recycling country, of the UN IMO Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKC, 2009) brought the world closer to the HKC’s entry into force and marked a new milestone towards achieving safe and environmentally sound ship recycling worldwide.

Although not yet into force, the HKC is already driving real changes on the ground. More than 65% of the ship recycling yards based in Alang, India have voluntarily requested and received statements of compliance with the HKC by third parties, a testament to the commitment of South Asian yards to raising their standards and to the progress made in ship recycling practices.

The EU Ship Recycling Regulation is an inadequate tool with contradictory standards as it does not include facilities with enough capacity to meet the needs of the EU shipping industry, while the European Commission applies selection criteria more rigorously to non-EU ship recycling facilities than to EU yards. Rather than setting up a regional system based on questionable criteria, the EU should foster and encourage developments at global level, which are the most effective way to ensure safe and environmentally sound ship recycling standards worldwide.

The recent ratification by India and the increasing number of HKC-compliant ship recycling facilities have given new impetus to the entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention.