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July 26, 2023.

The Hong Kong ship recycling Convention set to enter into force

After Bangladesh and Liberia became Contracting Parties to the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (the „Hong Kong Convention“) on 26th June 2023, the International Maritime Organization annonuced that the Hong Kong Convention is set to enter into force within 24 months.

Bangladesh, the mayor ship-recycling country in the world, and Liberia, one of the biggest flag states by tonnage, triggered the 24-months deadline for entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, as stipulated by the Convention.

The Hong Kong Convention is designed to ensure that ships, when being recycled at the end of their operational lives, do not pose an unnecessary risk to human health and safety of the environment. It takes „a cradle-to-grave“ approach covering the regulations for design, construction, operation and preparation of ships for recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships.

It is noteworthy that in 2020, the national Strategy for Development of Maritime Economy of Montenegro recognized the importance of ratification of the Hong Kong Convention by Montenegro. It emphasized that in doing so, „Montenegro would commit to implement its provisions fully and consistently in order to prevent, reduce, minimize to the extent possible and eliminate casualties, injuries and other negative consequences for human health and environment that can be caused by the activities of recycling ships and to improve security of ships, protection of human health and  environment throughout the entire life of a ship.“

The EU Ship Recycling Regulation, however, enhances the Hong Kong Convention requirements by adding higher standards and including additional safety and environmental requirements.

More specifically, the new instrument shall regulate:

-the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising their safety and operational efficiency;

-the operation of Ship Recycling Facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner;

-the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling (certification/reporting requirements).

At the moment, 22 countries are parties to the Hong Kong Convention, including Serbia and Croatia from the region.