Ship Reycling : Now Pakistan joined HKC
Pakistan recently joined the ranks of nations committed to environmentally responsible ship recycling by becoming a party to the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 (Hong Kong Convention). This significant move was formalized when Vice Admiral (Retd.) Iftikhar Ahmad Rao, the Maritime Minister and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Maritime Affairs, deposited the instrument of accession with Kitack Lim, the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), at the IMO Headquarters in London on November 30.
The journey towards this accession was marked by an informative national seminar in Karachi, Pakistan, organized by the IMO from November 13 to 15. The seminar aimed to support Pakistan in implementing the Convention and understanding the related Guidelines that accompany it.
Scheduled to come into force on June 26, 2025, the Hong Kong Convention was initially adopted during a diplomatic conference in Hong Kong, China, in 2009. This international agreement serves a crucial purpose: ensuring that ships, when reaching the end of their operational lives and undergoing recycling, do not pose unnecessary risks to human health, safety, and the environment. The Convention adopts a comprehensive “cradle to grave” approach, addressing all environmental and safety aspects associated with ship recycling, including the responsible management and disposal of waste streams in a safe and environmentally sound manner.
Central to the Convention’s implementation are the responsibilities and obligations it places on various stakeholders, including shipowners, shipbuilding yards, ship recycling facilities, flag States, port States, and recycling States. Once the Hong Kong Convention takes effect, ships destined for recycling will be mandated to carry an Inventory of Hazardous Materials on board. Additionally, ship recycling facilities, authorized by Competent Authorities, will be required to furnish a Ship Recycling Plan tailored to each vessel to be recycled. Governments are also tasked with ensuring that recycling facilities within their jurisdiction adhere to the Convention’s standards.
The list of contracting parties to the Hong Kong Convention now includes Bangladesh, Belgium, the Republic of the Congo, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia, Spain, and Türkiye, alongside Pakistan.
This move signifies a collective commitment to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in the maritime industry. The Convention acts as a unifying force, bringing together nations from diverse regions, each recognizing the importance of addressing the environmental and safety aspects of ship recycling.
Pakistan’s accession to the Hong Kong Convention reflects the country’s dedication to fostering a responsible and sustainable maritime sector. By actively participating in initiatives that prioritize environmental protection and safety, Pakistan aligns itself with the global community’s efforts to address pressing issues related to the shipping industry.
The national seminar held in Karachi served as a platform for knowledge exchange and collaboration. It not only helped Pakistan better understand the intricacies of the Hong Kong Convention but also facilitated discussions on how the country could effectively implement its provisions. Such initiatives are crucial for building a shared understanding among stakeholders and ensuring a smooth transition toward compliance with international maritime standards.
As the Convention’s entry into force approaches, it brings with it a paradigm shift in how the shipping industry approaches the end-of-life phase of vessels. The requirement for ships to carry an Inventory of Hazardous Materials underscores the importance of transparency and awareness regarding the materials used in ship construction. This, in turn, enables safe and efficient recycling processes, reducing risks to human health and the environment.
The mandate for Ship Recycling Plans specific to each vessel further emphasizes the need for a tailored approach in managing the recycling process. Ship recycling facilities, authorized by Competent Authorities, will play a pivotal role in ensuring that these plans are meticulously executed, adhering to the highest environmental and safety standards. Governments, as overseers, hold the responsibility of ensuring that such facilities within their jurisdiction comply with the Convention, fostering accountability at the national level.
The growing list of contracting parties to the Hong Kong Convention highlights the global recognition of the need for a standardized and responsible approach to ship recycling. By joining this esteemed group, Pakistan positions itself as a responsible player in the maritime domain, contributing to the collective efforts aimed at sustainable and environmentally sound practices.
In conclusion, Pakistan’s accession to the Hong Kong Convention marks a significant step towards fostering a maritime industry that prioritizes safety, environmental protection, and sustainability. As the Convention’s implementation date approaches, it is essential for all stakeholders, including governments, shipowners, and recycling facilities, to work collaboratively in ensuring smooth compliance. This collective commitment not only benefits the nations involved but also contributes to a healthier and more sustainable future for the global maritime community.