Maritime Safety and Protection of the Environment

2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (UN IMO HKC) since its adoption in 2009. The expectations for the entry into force of the HKC in the coming years have significantly increased, as 12 countries have now ratified the HKC (May 2019).

In 2013, the EU adopted the Ship Recycling Regulation (EU SRR), which broadly reflects the main provisions of the HKC. The EU SRR provides for an EU approved list of recycling facilities where all EU-flagged vessels have to be recycled after 31.12.2018. However, the current EU list of approved ship recycling facilities is inadequate and geographically unbalanced as it does not include facilities with enough capacity to meet the needs of the EU shipping industry.

The EU should strive to raise ship recycling standards globally by acknowledging the efforts made by yards in third countries and giving them the opportunity to be included in the EU list and by incentivising third country yards to raise their standards. It should also encourage its Member States to ratify the HKC as the most effective way to ensure sustainable recycling standards worldwide and a global level playing field.

In this context, ECSA organised a second fact-finding visit to Indian yards in February 2019 which bears witness and highlights the relevant progress made in recycling practices and standards in recycling yards located in the South Asia. Since 2016, many facilities have received statements of compliance with the HKC and the EU SRR by Recognized Organizations (ROs) and have applied to be included in the EU list. The EU legislators should provide transparency throughout the application process for inclusion in the EU list of third country yards that are HKC compliant in order to overcome the current insufficient capacity of the EU list of approved ship recycling facilities and effectively respond to the scrapping demand of EU-flagged vessels.

An increased number of globally balanced HKC compliant ship recycling facilities is urgently
needed in order to maintain a global level playing field in ship recycling and
facilitate worldwide ratifications of the HKC.