The Turkish Parliament has ratified The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (“the Convention”) on 31 March 2017. Turkey had become a signatory to the Convention on 26 August 2010. The field work which constitutes the foundation of the Convention has been carried out and the Turkish ship recycling facilities have been examined by international organisations. According to information obtained from the Istanbul & Marmara, Aegean, Mediterranian and Black Sea Regions Chamber of Shipping, all Turkish ship recycling facilities comply with the standards set out in the Convention. Furthermore, the Turkish Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication has played an active role in the drafting of the Convention.
The thrust of the Convention is to set standards for ships and ship recycling facilities to ensure they operate in a manner that does not pose any risk to human health, safety and the environment.
The rules stipulated by the Convention address a multitude of issues, such as:
- the handling of environmentally hazardous substances such as asbestos, heavy metals and hydrocarbons, which may be contained in vessels that are sold for scrapping;
- the appropriate construction and operation of vessels in order to ensure safe and sound recycling;
- the standards to be maintained by ship recycling facilities in order to ensure secure working and environmental conditions;
- the establishment of an enforcement mechanism for ship recycling, including certification and reporting obligations.
Pursuant to the Convention, an inventory of existing hazardous materials shall have to be kept for all ships. Hazardous materials which are prohibited on ships and in shipyards of the Convention countries are listed in an appendix to the Convention. Ships will also have to undergo a number of surveys prior to recycling in order to verify the inventory of hazardous materials, based on which ship recycling facilities will procure a “Ship Recycling Plan”, setting out the manner in which each ship will be recycled.
Convention countries will be required to take sufficient steps in order to guarantee that ship recycling facilities comply with the standards stipulated in the Convention, aiming to ensure secure working and environmental conditions.
The Convention will enter into force 24 months after the date on which the following conditions are met:
- Ratification by 15 states,
- Representation by 40 per cent of world merchant shipping (by gross tonnage), and
- A combined maximum annual ship recycling volume not less than 3 per cent of the combined tonnage of the ratifying states.
Turkey was the sixth country to ratify the Convention, following Norway, Congo, France, Belgium and Panama. Denmark has taken first steps towards ratifying the Convention and is expected to do so in spring 2017.
Related to the Convention, the European Union (“EU”) has implemented Regulation No. 1257/2013 (“the Regulation”), which aims to facilitate an early ratification of the Convention by EU member and non-member states as well as raising the bar. Pursuant to Article 16 of the Regulation, ship recycling facilities must be approved by competent authorities for member states and the European Commission for non-member states in order to be included in the “European List” and for that matter to be able to recycle ships flying the flag of an EU-member state. Turkish ship recycling facilities are keen to be part of the European List and are confident they will be in the coming months. For further information about the Regulation and the European List, please follow this link to our news alert regarding this matter.