The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (2009) is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment.

This recognition was considered as an important development towards a more sustainable ship recycling industry in the country, which has been strongly criticized by global NGOs for many years over marine pollution, hazardous waste dumping and unsafe working conditions.

The 1989-built VLOC 'Ore Vitoria', sold by Brazilian mining company Vale, will now be the first ship in Bangladesh to be recycled under the HKC environmental standards, which is considered as a 'historic moment', according to Md. Zahirul Islam, Managing Director of PHP.

A joint project between IMO and Norway to enhance safe and environmentally sound ship recycling in Bangladesh has entered its second phase last week. The SENSREC Project Phase II - Capacity Building, funded under a US$1.1 million agreement with Norway, will focus on legal and institutional analysis of ship recycling in the country and will develop a roadmap for the Government of Bangladesh to accede to Hong Kong Convention.

The treaty will enter into force 24 months after ratification by 15 States, representing 40% of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage. So far, six states have ratified the Convention.