Demystifying Ship Recycling - Issue 22

06 May 2021
Author: Mr. Kiran Thorat & Dr. Anand Hiremath

Number of Recycling Facilities Having Hong Kong Convention Statement of Compliance

In Demystifying Ship Recycling issue number 21 we discussed the process for issuance of a Statement of Compliance (SOC) to recycling facilities by classification societies. Do we know when the first SOC was issued? Which classification did society step forward for technical consultation of the yards? Which recycling facility got the HKC SOC for the first time? How many yards have presently held HKC SOC?

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the Hong Kong International convention in 2009. The HKC would come in force provided the three conditions mentioned in the convention are met. However, until 2015 there was not much progress in meeting the three conditions. 

In 2015, ship recycling facilities based in India voluntarily came forward to develop the infrastructures by heavily investing in recycling ships as per HKC guidelines. ClassNK was the first classification society that developed guidelines to issue SOC to the recycling facilities. After persistent efforts of recycling facilities and continuous guidance of ClassNK, four recycling facilities in Alang, India, were issued SOC for the first time in November 2015. 

This was the trigger point in the history of ship recycling. Classification societies like Lloyd’s Register, RINA, Indian Register of Shipping, and Bureau Veritas came forward and developed guidelines for recycling yards to recycle ships for HKC compliance. 

Recycling facilities had options to get guidance for developing infrastructure from multiple classification societies. 

Few recycling facilities in China, Turkey, and Bangladesh also developed their premises to recycle ships in a safe and environmentally sound way.

At present, India (92), Turkey (14), China (2), and Bangladesh (1) have recycling facilities that comply with HKC and have valid SOC. 

As of today, ClassNK (44), Lloyd’s Register (18), IRS (11), RINA (72), and Bureau Veritas (2) are the classification societies that issue SOC.  

Many yard owners have received multiple SOCs from different classification societies for a single recycling facility. 

At least 20 yard owners are working on building infrastructure to comply with HKC guidelines, and in the next year, it is expected that 100% of yards in Alang will be HKC compliant.

Shipowners and Capital providers started vetting the recycling facilities that have valid SOC to ensure ships are recycled as per HKC. It has given them the confidence and assurance that their vintage ships would be recycled sustainably in HKC-compliant yards. Admittedly, many responsible ship owners recycle their superannuated ships ONLY at HKC compliant yards.

The responsible role played by classification societies is significant in changing the face of ship recycling. Although HKC is not in force, the willingness to comply with HKC shown by the recycling facility owners is praiseworthy. 

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About Author

Kiran Thorat is a Sustainable Ship & Offshore Recycling Executive at GMS, where he looks after sustainable ship recycling projects. Kiran believes that Sustainable Recycling is an integral part of Sustainable Shipping and a notable example of a circular economy. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from Marine Engineering and Research Institute (DMET), India, and a Master's Degree in Energy, Trade, and Finance from Cass Business School, London.

Dr. Anand M. Hiremath is a Civil Engineer and holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati), India. He was awarded Doctorate Degree in the year 2016 for his research work on Ship Recycling by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), India. In addition, he has a diploma in Industrial safety, is a qualified lead auditor for ISO 9k, 14k and 18k. Dr. Hiremath published the first practical handbook on ship recycling, entitled: "The Green Handbook: A Practical Checklist to Monitor the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships" which highlights the procedures the GMS RSRP follows to help both Ship and Yard Owners recycle a vessel in an environmentally-friendly manner.

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