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Web Alert: Ship Recycling Regulations

04 July 2019

IMO Hong Kong Convention

Members may be aware of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 (the Hong Kong Convention or ‘HKC’) that is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and to the environment. The HKC was adopted in 2009 but is yet to enter into force.

The HKC, upon its entry into force, will have a requirement on ships to be sent for recycling to carry an inventory of hazardous materials (IHM), which will be specific to each ship. Resolution MEPC.269(68) provides guidelines for the development of the inventory of hazardous materials.

Once ratified, ship recycling yards will be required to provide a ‘Ship Recycling Plan’, specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory. Effectively, this means that governments will be responsible for authorising their own facilities, once the Convention enters into force.

European Ship Recycling Regulation
Although the HKC has not yet entered into force, the EU Regulation No. 1257/2013 on Ship Recycling (EU SRR) transposes similar requirements into EU law.

The EU SRR entered into force in December 2013 with an intention of regulating the safe and environmentally sound recycling of EU flagged ships of at least 500GT. It also expands to non-EU flagged ships visiting the EU ports.

From 31 December 2018 (the ‘date of application’ of the EU SRR), EU-flagged ships destined for recycling must have an IHM onboard and are required to be scrapped at facilities on an EU approved list. 

From 31 December 2020, it will be compulsory for all ships calling at EU ports to have an approved IHM onboard. The inventory would need to be developed on the basis of the standard format set out in the IMO guidelines (MEPC.269(68)). However, in this format, there should be a reference stating that the IHM has been developed to cover also the requirements of EU SRR. The non-EU flagged ships must in addition carry a statement of compliance issued by the authorities of the third country whose flag the ship is flying.

Any non-EU flagged ships having a last voyage that either starts from an EU port, or transits through an EU port, will continue to be regulated by Europe through the Waste Shipment Regulation (and not the EU SRR), which prohibits their recycling outside OECD countries. Therefore, non-EU flagged ships will not have the choice of going to any non-OECD recycling facilities that may be listed in the EU list of approved yards (unless they change flag to an EU flag).

Members are recommended to take note of the above mentioned requirements and refer to the additional industry guidance (as attached on the right) for further information.