After 14 long years, all three conditions of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (the Hong Kong Convention) have been met, paving the way for its enforcement by July 2025. GMS, the largest buyer of Ship and Offshore assets, takes immense pride in this significant moment. This significant milestone was achieved through the accession of Bangladesh and Liberia as Contracting States. This demonstrates the unwavering commitment of all stakeholders involved in ensuring safe and sustainable ship recycling practices worldwide.
The Hong Kong Convention sets forth stringent measures to ensure that ships, upon reaching the end of their operational lives, undergo recycling processes devoid of unnecessary risks to human health, safety, and the environment. Its comprehensive "cradle to grave" approach encompasses all aspects of environmental and safety considerations related to ship recycling, including the responsible management and disposal of associated waste streams.
Expressing his utmost appreciation for the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders, Dr. Anil Sharma, Founder, and CEO of GMS, stated, "We are honored to witness this momentous occasion as the Hong Kong Convention enters into force. The remarkable dedication and synergy demonstrated by the Contracting States, shipowners, ship recycling facilities, flag States, port States, and recycling States serve as a shining example of the maritime industry's commitment to fostering sustainable practices and preserving our precious environment. As the largest buyer of ships and offshore assets for recycling, we are proud to be part of this landmark moment and will continue to support initiatives that promote the circular economy and reduce the ecological footprint of the shipping industry."
The Hong Kong Convention is scheduled to come into effect on June 26, 2025, following the fulfillment of essential requirements, including the involvement of no fewer than 15 States, representing at least 40% of the global merchant shipping in terms of gross tonnage, along with a ship recycling capacity of no less than 3% of the combined gross tonnage of merchant shipping from the aforementioned States. It is noteworthy that the Hong Kong Convention encompasses all three pivotal phases of a ship's lifecycle, namely shipbuilding, ship repair, and ship recycling.
Bangladesh, renowned for its substantial ship recycling capacity, and Liberia, one of the world's largest flag States by tonnage, have played pivotal roles in fulfilling the criteria. Her Excellency Ms. Saida Muna Tasneem, High Commissioner and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), ceremoniously deposited the instrument of accession with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim on June 26, 2023, at IMO Headquarters in London. Simultaneously, The Honourable Lenn Eugene Nagbe, Commissioner and CEO of the Liberia Maritime Authority, formally deposited the instrument of accession, thereby ensuring compliance with the tonnage requirement.
With the accession of Bangladesh and Liberia, the Hong Kong Convention now boasts an esteemed list of Contracting Parties, including Belgium, Republic of the Congo, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Luxembourg, Malta, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia, Spain, and Türkiye. These 22 Contracting States represent approximately 45.81% of the world's merchant shipping gross tonnage. Over the past decade, the combined annual ship recycling volume of these Contracting States amounted to an impressive 23,848,453 gross tonnage, equivalent to 3.31% of the required recycling volume.
Upon the Convention's entry into force, ships destined for recycling will be required to carry an Inventory of Hazardous Materials onboard. Competent Authorities will mandate that ship recycling facilities provide a Ship Recycling Plan tailored to each individual vessel. Governments will also assume the responsibility of ensuring that recycling facilities within their jurisdictions adhere to the Convention's guidelines and regulations.
GMS expresses profound appreciation to all the stakeholders whose unwavering dedication and concerted efforts have brought about the attainment of this momentous milestone. Our company steadfastly upholds its commitment to championing environmentally responsible practices and actively supporting global initiatives aimed at forging a sustainable future for the maritime industry.
Headquartered in Dubai, GMS is the world’s largest buyer of ships and offshore vessels for recycling. It is dedicated to the sustainable ship and offshore recycling practices and works closely with ship and offshore vessel owners as well as the recycling yards themselves. GMS has built a reputation as an advocate for Hong Kong Convention (HKC) compliant best practices and has invested in training ship recycling yards and their workers to meet HKC standards.
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