Calls for Hong Kong Convention ratification to grow louder after ship fire

Gadani ship fire

The tragic loss of 18 lives in a huge explosion on a beached tanker being scrapped at the Gadani ship recycling site in Pakistan yesterday must lead to a greater resolution within the global shipping community for the speedy ratification of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

The International Maritime Organization adopted the Hong Kong Convention in 2009, but seven years down the line only a few countries have ratified it.

Thus far just two beaching facilities have met the requirements of the Hong Kong Convention, India’s Kalthia Shipbreaking and Priya Blue Industries. Both facilities were certified by Japanese classification society ClassNK in October 2015, after an appraisal that took two and a half years. A further two shipbreakers – Leela Ship Recycling Pvt Ltd and the Shree Ram Group are said to be still undergoing technical appraisal.

The Asian Shipowners Association made a call for ratification of the Hong Kong International Convention, at a meeting held on May 20 in Shanghai. Just why Asian countries have not signed up has not been made clear, particularly when they include the most important ship recycling nations of India, Pakistan and China.

Responding to the tragedy, Bimco’s chief shipping analyst, Peter Sand said:

“What has just happened at the Gadani ship recycling area in Pakistan is awful. Our thoughts go to all the persons being affected by this.

“Bimco’s position on the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships is that the Convention needs to enter into force as soon as possible. Bimco supports a level playing field for our global industry and advocate implementation of IMO regulation also in this field.”

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