INDIA has acceded to the IMO Hong Kong Convention, the treaty that is to set global standards for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling.

Gopal Krishna, Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Shipping and Amitabh Kumar, India’s Director General of Shipping, deposited the instrument of accession to the Hong Kong Convention with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim last week during the 31st session of the IMO Assembly in London

India’s accession brings this convention a step closer to taking effect, with the required 15 States now party to it.

India is one of the five major international ship recycling nations.

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The Hong Kong Convention covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships to ensure they can be recycled safely and in environmentally-friendly ways.

Under the Hong Kong Convention, ships sent for recycling must carry an inventory of hazardous materials on board.

Ship recycling facilities must provide a ship recycling plan.

IMO Secretary-General Lim urged other states to agree to the treaty as soon as possible.

“What happens to ships at the end of their lifetime is an important global issue with major consequences for safety and the environment,” Mr Lim said.

“I urge all countries yet to do so to ratify this important convention so it can enter into force and provide a consistent, global regulatory regime for this vital industry.”

The treaty takes effect 24 months after three separate criteria have been met. It must be ratified by 15 states – but these states must represent 40% of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, and a combined maximum annual ship recycling volume (during the preceding 10 years) of not less than 3% of their combined gross tonnage.

With India’s accession, the number of states required has now been reached, but further tonnage and recycling volumes are needed before the convention can enter into force.

The top five ship recycling countries in the world are Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey. Of these, India and Turkey are now parties to the Hong Kong Convention.

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