Japan accedes to ship recycling convention

IMO’s treaty for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling has received another boost. Japan has become the 10th country to become a Party to the Hong Kong Convention.The Convention covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships, and preparation for ship recycling in order to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships.


Under the treaty, ships are required to carry an Inventory of Hazardous Materials, specific to each ship. Ship recycling yards are required to provide a “Ship Recycling Plan”, specific to each individual ship to be recycled, specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.

H.E. Mr. Koji Tsuruoka, Ambassador of Japan to the United Kingdom and Permanent Representative of Japan to IMO, met IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at IMO Headquarters, London (27 March) to deposit the instrument of accession.

To help increase international awareness of the importance of the early entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan in cooperation with the IMO Secretariat is hosting an international seminar on “Ship Recycling – Towards the Early Entry into Force of the Hong Kong Convention”. The seminar will be held on 10 May 2019 at IMO Headquarters in London, United Kingdom. The seminar will discuss how to promote sustainable ship recycling and how to move forward for the early entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention.

The Contracting States to the Hong Kong Convention are: Belgium, Denmark, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, the Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Serbia and Turkey. They represent approximately 23.16% of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping. The combined annual ship recycling volume of the Contracting States during the preceding 10 years is 1,709,955 GT, i.e. 0.57% of the merchant shipping tonnage of the same States. The Hong Kong Convention will enter into force 24 months after the following conditions are met: 1. not less than 15 States have concluded this Convention,  2.  the combined merchant fleets of the States Parties constitute not less than 40 percent of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping, and 3.  the combined maximum annual ship recycling volume of the States Parties during the preceding 10 years constitutes not less than 3% of the gross tonnage of the combined merchant shipping of the States Parties.


Addressing fraudulent registration

​IMO’s Legal committee will discuss a number of proposed measures to prevent fraudulent registration of ships and other deceptive shipping practices, during its 106th session (27-29 March). This follows reports of fraudulent use of their flag by a number of IMO Member States.

Amongst other agenda items, the Committee will consider the growing number of cases of seafarer abandonment and the orchestrated action needed to address this issue. The Committee will be updated on the latest cases and review cases which have been successfully resolved, following intervention by the IMO Secretariat, the International Labour Organization (ILO), relevant flag States, port States, seafarers’ States and other organizations.

The Committee will also begin its work on the regulatory scoping exercise of conventions emanating from the Legal Committee for the use of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS). Another important agenda item is on encouraging ratification and implementation the 2010 HNS Convention, which covers liability and compensation in the event of an incident involving hazardous goods. The number of ships carrying HNS cargoes is growing steadily with more than 200 million tonnes of chemicals traded annually.

The Legal committee was opened by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim and is being chaired by Mr. Volker Schöfish (Germany).