Portugal ratifies Hong Kong Convention in Ship Recycling

The Portuguese government has ratified the Hong Kong International Convention on Ship Recycling and incorporated it into national law, becoming the 20th country to do so.

The Hong Kong Convention, introduced in 2019, aims to regulate the design, construction, operation, and preparation of ships and ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner. It was developed with input from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Member States, non-governmental organizations, the International Labour Organization, and the Parties to the Basel Convention.

Ratification and Entry into Force: The Convention will enter into force 24 months after it has been ratified by 15 IMO States, representing 40 percent of the world’s merchant shipping by gross tonnage.

Safety and Environmental Standards: The Hong Kong Convention sets standards for ship recycling to ensure that these activities are carried out safely and in an environmentally responsible manner. It covers various aspects of ship recycling, including design, construction, operation, and facility preparation:
– the Convention suggests an initial survey to be carried out to verify the Inventory of Hazardous Materials, additional surveys during the life of the ship and a final survey prior to recycling.
– ship recycling yards will need a Ship Recycling Plan for each specific ship explaining the exact manner of the process and assuring the safe handling and disposal of hazardous materials.
– an appendix provides a list of hazardous materials, the installation or use of which is prohibited or restricted in shipyards, ship repair yards and Parties to the Convention.
– the Ship Recycling Plan has to be implemented safely by trained workers taking all safety precautions and having adequate updating on the progress.
– detailed ship recycling completion report is needed since transparency is of outmost importance.
– in the Ship Recycling Yards the parts of the ship are melted and used in steel mills and the engines, generators and panels are resold. Lifeboats and furniture are resold to local fishermen and other coastal communities

Enforcement: The Convention places the responsibility for enforcement on both the vessel’s flag state (the country where the ship is registered) and the recycling state (the country where ship recycling takes place). Ships falling under the Convention’s scope may be subject to inspections by authorized officers in any port or offshore terminal of a Party to determine compliance. If a ship is found to be in violation of the Convention, the inspecting Party can take various actions, including warnings, detentions, dismissals, or exclusion from its ports.

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