German shipping company Thomas Schulte is implementing the requirements of the Hong Kong Convention on Ship Recycling well in advance. Germanischer Lloyd (GL) has been contracted to issue certificates for the fleet of 33 existing and 18 new container vessels according to the new IMO Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (Hong Kong Convention).
The Hong Kong Convention adopted at a Diplomatic Conference in Hong Kong (May 2009), aims to improve standards of safety and environmental protection at recycling of ships. The Convention will require ships to have an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM). The IHM is a ship specific document that lists all the materials onboard a ship that may be hazardous to people's health or the environment, and that require careful handling or special awareness.
The Hong Kong convention will make an IHM mandatory for all new and existing ships above 500GT, which covers all materials used for construction and equipment of ships. The focus lies on materials which have already been identified as hazardous internationally but which might still be found in shipyards, ship-repair yards, and especially onboard ships. Therefore the main focus for the shipping industry is the preparation and maintenance of an IHM for each vessel in order to reduce the risks for crewmembers and, in line with the main focus of the Hong Kong Convention, workers in recycling yards by providing a sound source of information.
For new ships the IHM preparation is fully relying on exchange of information between shipyards and their suppliers. Development of effective processes is essential; as thousands of documents have to be exchanged.
The Hong Kong Convention also creates a new obligation for ship owners to sell their redundant ships only to recycling facilities that meet the standards and have been authorized by the national "competent authorities." Ship recycling facilities will be required to prepare a "Ship Recycling Plan," to specify the processes how the specific ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its IHM. All involved parties will be required to take effective measures to ensure that ship recycling facilities under their jurisdiction comply with the Hong Kong Convention.
The Hong Kong Ship Recycling Convention contains the following elements and mechanisms for control and enforcement:
* An inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship, and an associated International Certificate for a Ship Inventory of Hazardous Materials;
* A list of hazardous materials whose installation or use in ships is prohibited or restricted in shipyards, ship repair yards, and ships of Parties to the Convention, is provided as an appendix to the Convention; in addition a procedure for proposing amendments to this list of ships' hazardous materials is defined by the Convention;
* A new surveying regime, consisting of an initial survey to verify the inventory of hazardous materials, surveys during the life of the ship, and a final survey prior to recycling;
* The introduction of the "Recycling Plan", developed by the recycling yard to specify the manner each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory;
* The introduction of the International Ready for Recycling Certificate, to be issued to the ship following its final survey verifying ship related statements on the Recycling Plan;
* The authorization of recycling facilities by their States, in accordance with the requirements of the Convention;
* A statement of completion of ship recycling, issued by the recycling facility and reporting completion of recycling of an individual ship to the recycling State authorities and to the flag Administration.
The control and enforcement mechanisms may be categorized as follows:
* Flag State obligations: control and enforcement system based on a survey and certification regime, ensuring that a Party to the Convention takes effective measures for ships flying its flag to comply with the requirements of the Convention;
* Port State control rights: a port State control regime ensuring that ships of other Parties and incoming ships of non-Parties comply with the Convention during their operating life;
* A party and its recycling facilities: parties are required to take effective measures to ensure that recycling facilities under their jurisdiction comply with the Convention. An authorization regime for ship recycling facilities is established;
* Communication and exchange of information: to ensure implementation of the convention, it is a right of a party to request information of another party on the basis of which it has provided authorization of a recycling facility. Furthermore, parties are required to submit to IMO, for dissemination to other parties, lists of authorized recycling facilities and other information which may assist towards enforcement and monitoring of the implementation of the convention;
* Reporting at the end of life: the draft reporting system ensures that parties (either as flag States or as recycling States) can control and intervene in the relevant phases prior to recycling. The flag State has control over the issuance of the International Ready for Recycling Certificate (which has to consider the Ship Recycling Plan), while the recycling state may prohibit the commencement of the recycling activity, or undertake other control actions.
* Detection of violations: the draft convention establishes extensive provisions for the detection and investigation of alleged violations, and on how parties shall co-operate. Requirements are also set for the establishment of sanctions under the national law of parties;
* Auditing implementation: a system for auditing the implementation of the convention is included in the draft convention.