Asian shipowners push for China’s ratification of the Hong Kong Convention

Regional shipowners’ association says there needs to be more green recycling shipyards as scrapping levels set to soar as new regulations bite

The Asian Shipowners’ Association is calling on more progress in developing ship recycling facilities that meet the requirements of the Kong Kong Convention as they see predict a sharp rise in tonnage being sent to scrap in 2023.


The ASA is a organization bringing together national shipowner associations in the Asia and Australia markets, including two Chinese shipowner groups.


To achieve this they are calling on China to ratify the convention on ship recycling this year, and more effort in Bangladesh to raise its game to meet modern expectations on standards for recycling facilities.


An ASA ship recycling committee statement said that recycling in 2022 is expected to remain relatively low due to high charter rates and a buoyant market, with recycling volumes expected to match 2021 at 24.3m DWT. However they quote Clarkson’s data which projects volumes to double in 2023 to 45.5m dwt as older tonnage is sent to the yards rather than have to dace the costs of meeting regulations such as the EEXI and CII.


The shipowners’ call also says there should be more certified yards in multiple countries, to both meet green yard demand and alleviate the risks associated with a pandemic and potential national shutdowns.


India is the largest ship recycling nation that has moved to ratify the Hong Kong Convention on Ship Recycling, and the experience seen in India could be replicated in other Asian countries argues the committee.


“We further promote and strengthen the ASA SRC’s standing policy of ensuring priority usage of HKC-certified yards and yards in the process of obtaining certification. India continues and is expected to be the core of green recycling, and it would be especially be great if India’s successful experience in accelerating the growth of HKC green yards by motivation from shipowners could also be seen in Bangladesh. This will lead to the improvement of the environment for ratifying the HKC by the first quarter of 2023 declared by the Bangladesh government. The ASA SRC has a plan to dispatch a delegation from the ASA SRC to Bangladesh to promote dialogue with the stakeholders (ship recyclers and concerned government officials).”


There are still issues relating to many of the Asian yards that use the beaching method of recycling ships with critics citing the environmental risks of breaking apart steel hulls in tidal waters and the working conditions in some of the facilities.


The Hong King Convention on ship recycling was agreed in 2009. It will come into force when the following three conditions are met by IMO member sates:


Not less than 15 states have signed it, that these states will have a combined fleet of 40% of the world gross tonnage, and that the combined maximum annual ship recycling volume of the states that have ratified it, during the preceding 10 years, constitutes not less than 3% of gross tonnage of the combined fleet of those signatories.


According to the IMO there are currently 17 signatories, representing 29.77% of the global fleet with recycling tonnage representing just under 14m gt. India is listed as having accession to the convention in November 2019, Turkey, the second largest recycling country to have ratified to date, as having done so  in January 2019.


The instrument of accession by India was accompanied by the following declaration: “… the Government of India declares that India will require tacit approval of the Ship Recycling Plan before a ship may be recycled in its authorized Ship Recycling Facility(ies).”


China’s ratification would likely help push the second and third requirements over the required threshold given the size of the country’s international fleet and its historical record in ship recycling which spans the previous decade even though it stopped recycling  a few years ago.

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