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India agrees to ratify IMO ship recycling convention

The largest ship recycling nation has agreed to ratify the Hong Kong Convention on Ship Recycling which will push shipowners to take closer heed of how they dispose of tonnage

India, perhaps the most important ship recycling nation, has announced its intention to ratify the IMO’s Ship Recycling Convention and to bring into force its own ship recycling bill that could have an impact before the Convention does.

The Hong Kong convention on ship recycling will be ,when it comes into force, set to overhaul how shipowners can dispose of tonnage. It gives responsibility to owners to keep a tally of what is on a ship so that recycling facilities can reduce the health risks to workers as well as making owners and re-sellers use only approved facilities hat meet specific standards.

Europe has its own recycling regulations which echoes the requirements of the Hong Kong convention.

Targets

Under the terms of the IMO’s convention it will come into force two years after three key criteria are met. There must be at least 15 IMO states that have ratified the convention, representing no less than 40% of the global fleet by tonnage.

Target for ConventionCurrent Status (excluding India)
15 member states13 member states
40% of global tonnage29.42% of global tonnage
3% of recycling volume over 10yrs0,44% of recycling volume over 10yrs
Convention in force 2 years after targets met

There is also a requirement that contracting states must have a combined annual ship recycling volume of at east 3% by gross tonnage when viewed over the preceding 10 years.

According data from the IMO there are currently 13 contracting states, representing 29.42%. The signatories represent only 0.44% of the recycled tonnage. This is likely to be because Turkey is one of the countries that has ratified the convention.

India, according to its government represents 30% of the global recycling market and will bring the other two requirements close to the tipping point to start the cont down to bring it into force.

However India has said it will enact a Recycling of Ships Bill 2019 that will bring into force many of the Conventions requirements before then. It also has yet to actually deposit its papers at the IMO and bring into force its Act though Parliament. But in a cabinet office press department statement, the government said that it has decided to enact a Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019, to accede to the Hong Kong Convention and to them bring the provisions of the convention into the bill when the convention is in force.

In its text the statement said: “The proposed Bill restricts and prohibits the use or installation of hazardous material, which applies irrespective of whether a ship is meant for recycling or not. For new ships, such restriction or prohibition on use of hazardous material will be immediate, that is, from the date the legislation comes into force, while existing ships shall have a period of five years for compliance. Restriction or prohibition on use of hazardous material would not be applied to warships and non-commercial ships operated by Government. Ships shall be surveyed and certified on the inventory of hazardous material used in ships.”

Statement from Indian Government

CABINET APPROVES PROPOSAL FORENACTMENT OF RECYCLING OF SHIPS BILL, 2019 AND ACCESSION TO THE HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR SAFE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND RECYCLING OF SHIPS, 2009.

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for enactment of Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 and accession to the Hong Kong International Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009.

Benefits:

  • The proposed Bill restricts and prohibits the use or installation of hazardous material, which applies irrespective of whether a ship is meant for recycling or not. For new ships, such restriction or prohibition on use of hazardous material will be immediate, that is, from the date the legislation comes into force, while existing ships shall have a period of five years for compliance. Restriction or prohibition on use of hazardous material would not be applied to warships and non-commercial ships operated by Government. Ships shall be surveyed and certified on the inventory of hazardous material used in ships.
  • Under the Bill, ship recycling facilities are required to be authorized and ships shall be recycled only in such authorized ship recycling facilities.
  • The Bill also provides that ships shall be recycled in accordance with a ship-specific recycling plan. Ships to be recycled in India shall be required to obtain a Ready for Recycling Certificate in accordance with the HKC

Salient features:

  • The Government of India has decided to enact a Bill, namely Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019, to provide for the regulation of recycling of ships by setting certain international standards and laying down the statutory mechanism for enforcement of such standards.
  • It has also been decided to accede to the Hong Kong International Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009.
  • When the Hong Kong International Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 comes into force, its provisions will be implemented under the provisions of the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 and rules and regulations framed there under.

Background:

  • India is the leader in the global ship recycling industry, with a share of over 30% of the market. As per UNCTAD report on Review of Maritime Transport, 2018, India had demolished 6323 tonnes in 2017, of known ship scrapping across the world.
  • The ship-recycling industry is a labour-intensive sector, but it is susceptible to concerns on environmental safety. 

About Author

Craig Eason Stockholm
Craig Eason is the owner and editorial director of Fathom.World. He has a background in the shipping industry having started his career as a cadet on oil tankers and gas carriers before becoming a navigating officer on a range of vessel types. A change in career, with ensuing university studies, and he has now gained 20 years experience in written and broadcast journalism. He now is in demand as a knowledgeable and competent editor and event host and moderator, both for in-house events and ones for the public.