The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has expressed its appreciation for Bangladesh’s decision to ratify the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (Hong Kong Convention), emphasizing the significance of this step. So far, 20 countries, accounting for approximately 30% of global merchant shipping’s combined gross tonnage, have ratified the Convention. With Bangladesh joining this group, the fulfillment of requirements for the Convention to come into force is now one step closer. The Convention requires ratification by at least 15 nations, accounting for 40% of global commercial shipping by gross tonnage, with a combined maximum annual ship recycling volume of no less than 3% of their total tonnage.
John Stawpert, Senior Manager (Environment and Trade) of the International Chamber of Shipping, commended Bangladesh’s leadership in committing to ratify the Convention. Stawpert highlighted the necessity of a global system for governing ship recycling, as regional systems that neglect the economic realities of the industry can be easily bypassed. This positive development in Bangladesh ensures sufficient compliant recycling capacity, overseen by national authorities and the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations regulator.
In the pursuit of decarbonization within the industry, ship recycling plays a crucial role in achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. As older vessels are decommissioned in the coming years to make way for net-zero vessels, ratifying the Convention guarantees a supply of ships for facilities compliant with the Hong Kong Convention.
Stawpert mentioned that Bangladesh had previously committed to ratifying the Hong Kong Convention by 2023 through its Ship Recycle Act, which incorporates the terms of the Convention into national law. Bangladesh has already begun the process of enhancing its recycling capacity since adopting the Act. However, progress in improving facilities was temporarily hampered by the challenges and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, the two-year entry into force period following ratification of the Convention allows those who faced obstacles to catch up in terms of investment, infrastructure, and training, with potential assistance from existing technical cooperation mechanisms.
Stawpert further emphasized that compliance with the Hong Kong Convention has increasingly become the standard for ship recycling sales and processes, driven by environmental, social, and governance factors, as well as demands from charterers and customers. Bangladesh’s ratification as a major ship recycler reinforces this trend. The entry into force of the Convention will establish a level playing field globally, aligning with the evolving norms in the industry. Therefore, adhering to the Convention’s requirements will be essential for ship recyclers to secure their market share in the future.