BIMCO announced that it welcomed Pakistan’s accession to the Hong Kong Convention. This is a significant milestone that effectively seals the loopholes and further strengthens the international ship recycling regime.
s informed, with the announcement that Pakistan is acceding to the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKC), all major ship recycling States have now become a Party to IMO’s HKC. Together, Türkiye, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, recycle each year around 95% of the world’s recycled tonnage. Because of this, any ship soon to be recycled will need to abide by the principles of the HKC.
The Hong Kong Convention was adopted in 2009. There are now 22 contracting states: Bangladesh, Belgium, Republic of the Congo, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia, Spain, and Turkey.
Hong Kong Convention enters into force in June 2025.
Gudrun Janssens, Manager, Intergovernmental Engagement Brussels, Belgium highlights that ships worldwide will need to have an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) in place, a requirement that comes into effect five years post-entry will contribute to a significant improvement in recycling ships safely and environmentally soundly. BIMCO has calculated that around 23,000 ships still need to develop an IHM between 2025 and 2030, while approximately 30,000 ships already have an IHM in place.
Precisely because of the global impact this ratification has, BIMCO anticipates that all Flag states will soon follow Pakistan’s commendable lead.
The accession to the HKC by Pakistan, a key ship recycling state, underlines a greater global trend. All major non-OECD recycling states have now indicated their willingness to receive end-of-life ships for recycling. This is evident in the significant time, money, and effort these states and their industries have invested towards meeting the HKC requirements. The past decade has seen unprecedented improvements, buoyed by the prospect of the HKC coming into force.
We believe it is essential for the European Union and its member states and the states that are party to the Basel Convention (UNEP) to acknowledge and respond to the call from these recycling states. It would be unjust to prohibit ships from being recycled at yards that meet the HKC standards, especially considering the vast improvements made over recent years and the need for steel in these developing economies.
Pakistan’s accession to the HKC is a significant step forward in the global endeavour to improve ship recycling standards. We urge all stakeholders to follow suit and to continue striving towards a safer and more sustainable future for the global shipping and ship recycling industry.