The maritime industry is on the cusp of a significant transformation as the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships is set to enter into force on June 25, 2025. In a recent interview, Gard's Special Adviser Kim Jefferies sat down with Herman Steen, Partner at Wikborg Rein, to explore the implications of this convention on global ship recycling practices. Amidst these changes, the role of HazInvent, a digital tool for Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) management, emerges as a critical component in ensuring compliance with the convention's rigorous standards.
The Essence of the Hong Kong Convention:
Adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2009, the Hong Kong Convention seeks to ensure safe and environmentally responsible ship recycling practices. Addressing concerns, particularly in South Asia, the convention adopts a cradle-to-grave approach, requiring ships flagged in contracting states to carry an IHM. These ships are only permitted to be recycled at authorized facilities, and recycling facilities in contracting states must adhere to stringent requirements outlined in Ship Recycling Facility Plans (SRFP) and Ship-Specific Recycling Plans (SRP).
EU Regulations vs. Hong Kong Convention:
In response to perceived delays in the Hong Kong Convention and the need for stricter regulations, the European Union (EU) introduced its Ship Recycling Regulation in 2013. This regulation, surpassing the convention's requirements, prohibits EU-flagged vessels from being recycled at facilities not approved by the EU Commission. HazInvent: A Digital Solution for IHM Compliance
National Legislation and Basel Ban Amendment:
National legislation, such as the EU Waste Shipment Regulation in Norway, incorporating the Basel Convention and Basel Ban Amendment, underscores the stringent enforcement mechanisms in place. A notable case involving the "Tide Carrier" in Norway demonstrated the legal consequences of attempting to recycle a vessel in non-compliant facilities.
As the maritime industry braces for these regulatory shifts, HazInvent emerges as a pivotal digital tool for IHM compliance. The digital platform seamlessly integrates with the requirements of the Hong Kong Convention, offering shipowners and operators a streamlined solution for managing hazardous material inventories. HazInvent provides real-time updates, accessibility, and accuracy in maintaining IHM records, aligning with the convention's emphasis on transparency and efficiency.
The Prospects for Pakistan:
While major ship recycling nations like India and Bangladesh have ratified the Hong Kong Convention, Pakistan's stance remains uncertain. The decision may hinge on whether Pakistan believes its yards can meet compliance standards by the convention's entry into force. Economic factors, recent natural catastrophes, and potential market share impacts will influence Pakistan's decision to join the convention or pursue alternative strategies.
The impending entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention signifies a milestone in establishing a comprehensive international framework for safe and sustainable ship recycling. In this evolving landscape, HazInvent emerges as a crucial ally, offering a digital solution that not only aligns with the convention's objectives but anticipates the growing demand for efficiency and transparency in the maritime sector. As the maritime industry navigates these seas of change, HazInvent stands as a beacon, ensuring that IHM compliance becomes a seamless and technologically advanced aspect of the ship recycling process, contributing to the convention's mission of global standards for safe and sustainable practices.
Date: 10 November 2023