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Demystifying Ship Recycling - Issue 22

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 Statement of Compliance (SOC) to recycling facilities by classification societies. Do we know when the first SOC was issued? Which classification society stepped 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 on 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 who 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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