Portugal ratifies Hong Kong Convention for safer ship recycling

Portugal is the latest country to accede to IMO’s Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

Image credit IMO

The convention covers the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of ships, and preparation for ship recycling to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships.

Under the treaty, ships to be sent for recycling are required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship. Ship recycling yards are required to provide a Ship Recycling Plan, specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.

Portugal’s H.E. Nuno e Brito, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Representative of Portugal to IMO deposited the instrument of accession with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim on 28 March.

The 20 Contracting States to the Convention represent 30.16% of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping.

These include Belgium, Congo, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe, Serbia, Spain and Türkiye.

While it has been signed by several countries, it has not yet entered into force as it requires ratification by a minimum of 15 countries representing 40% of the world’s merchant shipping tonnage.

By adhering to safety standards outlined in the Hong Kong Convention, shipbreaking facilities can minimize risks to workers and prevent pollution to surrounding communities. Safe ship recycling also promotes sustainable practices and ensures that hazardous materials are disposed of properly, making it a vital part of the global effort to protect human health and the environment.

While there has been a rise in the ratification of yards in line with the standards of the Hong Kong conventions, over 80 percent of the vessels sent for scrapping still end up on South Asian beaches notorious for poor safety and environmental practices.

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