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BIMCO Raises Alarm Over Conflicting Ship Recycling Regulations

BIMCO Raises Alarm Over Conflicting Ship Recycling Regulations

BIMCO Raises Alarm Over Conflicting Ship Recycling Regulations

Ahead of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) meeting, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) grapples with a pressing issue highlighted in a collaborative paper submitted by BIMCO and several prominent maritime nations. This paper underscores the looming clashes between the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) and the Basel Convention, presenting formidable obstacles for shipowners, recycling facilities, and vessels.

Scheduled for implementation in June 2025, the HKC aims to ensure safe and eco-friendly ship recycling practices. However, BIMCO voices apprehensions regarding potential conflicts with the Basel Convention, which oversees the movement and disposal of hazardous waste across borders. This predicament poses a dilemma: adhering to one convention could entail violating the other, leading to penalties and legal complications.

A significant inconsistency arises concerning the classification of hazardous waste. A ship granted an International Ready for Recycling Certificate (IRRC) under the HKC may concurrently be classified as hazardous waste under the Basel Convention. This precarious scenario means that within the IRRC’s validity period, which spans up to three months, the vessel risks legal repercussions for contravening Basel regulations while still engaged in active trading.

BIMCO underscores the looming risk of prosecution confronting shipowners who opt for responsible recycling at facilities adhering to the HKC in major recycling nations such as Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Turkey. In such cases where both conventions appear to apply, owners may find themselves entangled in legal ramifications despite their genuine intentions.

David Loosley, Secretary-General and CEO of BIMCO, succinctly articulates the precarious nature of the situation: “The ratification of the Hong Kong Convention marks a new era. We must ensure legal obstacles and conflicts between the two conventions do not limit the scope of this historic opportunity.”

BIMCO and its collaborators urge the MEPC to provide unequivocal legal clarity and assurance. They seek confirmation that compliance with the HKC will not result in penalties under the Basel Convention. Such assurance is indispensable for instilling greater confidence within the industry and ensuring the seamless implementation of the HKC.

Moreover, BIMCO highlights the positive advancements facilitated by the HKC, including enhanced transparency and elevated standards within the ship recycling sector. However, achieving consistent implementation hinges on resolving potential conflicts and ensuring that responsible adherence to one convention does not inadvertently trigger adverse consequences under the other.

With the clock ticking towards the June 2025 deadline, the MEPC faces a critical imperative. Resolving the potential discrepancies between the HKC and the Basel Convention is imperative to ensure the success of the HKC and safeguard the interests of conscientious shipowners, recycling facilities, and the environment at large.

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