Ship recycling has taken a major step forward as Bangladesh and Liberia have signed up to the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The Hong Kong Convention, as it is more commonly known, will now enter force on June 26th, 2025, two years after the necessary criteria have been met.
The conditions for entry into force are: signatories must include at least 15 states accounting for no less than 40% of the world’s merchant shipping by gross tonnage; and ship recycling capacity of not less than 3% of the gross tonnage of the combined merchant shipping of those signatory states.
The Convention was first adopted by the International Maritime Organization in 2009 and despite continuing concerns about working practices and the environmental conditions surrounding what used to be called shipbreaking, it will have taken 16 years to introduce the principles and safeguards of the measure. However, over that period, vast improvements in standards and working practices have taken place at many recycling facilities.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim commended Bangladesh, a major ship recycler, and Liberia, one of the world’s largest shipping nations by flag, for signing up. "I congratulate Bangladesh and Liberia for depositing their instruments of accession this June, triggering within 24 months the entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, and the global regime for safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships," he declared.
"This is a momentous day for IMO, and it is indeed a historical development for the international shipping industry, for the marine environment, and especially for workers and local communities in ship recycling countries globally.
Bangladesh, as a major ship-recycling country, has made huge strides in recent years in improving its ship recycling regulation and standards to meet the Hong Kong Convention requirements. My sincere thanks to the Government of Bangladesh for this timely decision of accession... I would also like to express my deepest appreciation to Liberia. As a prominent flag state, their accession to the Hong Kong Convention will provide a major advancement to Liberia's regulatory framework and would enable the tonnage criteria to be met."
Lim also invited other member states who have not yet signed the Hong Kong Convention to do so as soon as possible.
Hong Kong Convention to enter force in 2025