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					The Hong Kong Convention and IMO’s position in relation to the preliminary assessment
                        by the UNHRC Special Rapporteur

Summary

This document provides a background to the development of the Hong Kong Convention and
clarifies the position of the International Maritime Organization in relation to the preliminary
assessment by the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on whether the
Hong Kong Convention establishes an equivalent level of control and enforcement to that
established under the Basel Convention.

IMO welcomes the statement by the Special Rapporteur that the Hong Kong Convention represents
a positive step towards creating an enforceable regulatory regime aimed at reducing the risks that
end-of-life ships pose to human health and safety and to the environment when being scrapped
(paragraph 14 of the preliminary assessment). The Organization equally welcomes the Special
Rapporteur’s recognition that the adoption of the Hong Kong Convention witnesses the serious
commitment of the international community to the development of an enforceable regulatory regime
for a safer and more environmentally sound management and disposal of end-of-life ships
(paragraph 17 of the preliminary assessment). IMO also appreciates and concurs with the
encouragement given by the Special Rapporteur to Member States to take all appropriate steps to
accede to the Convention within a reasonable period of time and to consider applying the technical
requirements of the Convention in the interim period on a voluntary basis (paragraph 18 of the
preliminary assessment).

The preliminary assessment nevertheless appears to be based largely on a report submitted by the
previous Special Rapporteur to the twelfth session of the Human Rights Council (A/HR/12/26). In
this regard, it may be noted that the earlier report was prepared without reference to IMO, in spite of
the mandate given to the Special Rapporteur, in Human Rights Council resolution 9/1, urging him to
undertake his study “in consultation with the relevant United Nations bodies”. As this mandate is
continuous, it may also be noted that the present Special Rapporteur’s preliminary assessment has
been similarly prepared without prior discussion with IMO on the contents of the Hong Kong
Convention, does not reflect detailed information on the Hong Kong Convention provided by the
IMO Secretariat after preparation of the preliminary assessment had come to light, and appears to
be largely repetitive of the text of the earlier report to the Human Rights Council. Consequently, the
preliminary assessment now submitted to the tenth Conference of the Parties to the Basel
Convention raises a number of issues and contains interpretations of the Hong Kong Convention
that necessitate clarification and correction, as discussed in this document.

Historical background

1         While the principle of ship recycling is a sound one, the working practices and
environmental standards in many recycling facilities often leave much to be desired. Growing
concerns about environmental, safety, health and welfare matters in the ship recycling industry
resulted in the last 15 years, or so, in a growing belief that international law was needed to regulate
ship recycling activities and, in particular, to address the problems of reportedly low safety and poor
environmental standards in the ship recycling yards of South Asia, where in the last decade
Bangladesh, India and Pakistan have been recycling more than two thirds of the world’s tonnage.

2       The first attempt to find an international solution for regulating ship recycling through
common standards was to implement an international convention already in force, namely “The
Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their
Disposal” (the Basel Convention). In recognizing the need to address the adverse environmental
impacts of ship recycling, the fifth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 5) to the Basel
Convention, in December 1999, decided to address the subject and instructed its Technical
Working Group to initiate work on the development of suitable technical guidelines. In December
                                                        -2-

2002, the sixth Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, through its decision VI/24,
adopted the “Technical Guidelines for the Environmentally Sound Management of the Full and
Partial Dismantling of Ships”.

3         Slightly earlier, in March 2002, the forty-seventh session of the Marine Environment
Protection Committee (MEPC 47) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) had also agreed
that IMO should develop guidelines for ship recycling. MEPC 49, in July 2003, finalized its work on
such guidelines, and the 23rd IMO Assembly, in December 2003, adopted the IMO Guidelines on
Ship Recycling by resolution A.962(23). It is noted that guidelines, whether by IMO or by the Basel
Convention, have a recommendatory, and not a mandatory nature. However, such guidelines have
the authority of being adopted by consensus of negotiating States and therefore can have an
influential if not persuasive impact on national decision-making. They are also often a first,
pragmatic and progressive stage toward achievement of a longer-term objective of having a
universal standard, and valuable experience can be gained from their application. In any case,
particularly in technical matters, internationally-agreed guidelines tend to promote global uniformity,
consistency, harmonization and enforcement in the application of broader policy objectives.

4       The Basel Convention provides the necessary controls for the international movement of
hazardous wastes and for their environmentally sound management. On the other hand, the Basel
Convention does not establish a special system for ships and its provisions do not incorporate the
concept of the flag State, which is so important in all maritime conventions, beginning with the
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Accordingly, as the main controls of the Basel
Convention are implemented through port States and not the flag States of ships, this, in practice,
makes the Basel Convention unenforceable to ships1. Consequently, the attempt to implement the
Basel Convention to the dismantling of ships that trade internationally has not been practicable, as
has been shown in a number of cases, such as the Otapan, the Sea Beirut, the Sandrien, the
Margaret Hill, the Tor Anglia2, etc.

5         In October 2004, the seventh Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP 7)
arrived at decision VII/26, whose preamble notes that “a ship may become waste as defined in
article 2 of the Basel Convention and at the same time it may be defined as a ship under other
international rules”. It then continues to the operative part, where COP 7: “Invites the International
Maritime Organization to continue to consider the establishment in its regulations of mandatory
requirements, including a reporting system for ships destined for dismantling, that ensure an
equivalent level of control as established under the Basel Convention and to continue work aimed
at the establishment of mandatory requirements to ensure the environmentally sound management
of ship dismantling, which might include pre-decontamination within its scope.”

6         In consonance with IMO’s Strategic Plan, which contains provisions on ship recycling, and
the related work of the Organization’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), the 24th
IMO Assembly, held in December 2005, adopted resolution A.981(24) instructing the MEPC to
develop a “new legally binding instrument on ship recycling”. The resolution recognized: “the urgent
need for the Organization to contribute to the development of an effective solution to the issue of
ship recycling that will minimize …… the environmental, occupational, health and safety risks
related to ship recycling, taking into account at the same time the particular characteristics of world
maritime transport …”

7        Resolution A.981(24) required that the new instrument should regulate:

         .1     the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe
                and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising their safety and
                operational efficiency;


1      Refer to document UNEP/CHW/LWG/4/4 providing an analysis on the “Legal aspects of scrapping of vessels”
       by Professor dr. juris Geir Ulfstein, of the Department of Public and International Law of the University of Oslo.
2      The case of Tor Anglia was discussed by Mr. Gert Jakobsen, VP Communications & Environmental Issues, of
       the shipowning company, DFDS, at the TradeWinds Ship Recycling Forum in Dubai, 1-2 March 2011. The
       presentation is available on video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maGZw8GTca8
                                                -3-

         .2    the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound
               manner; and

        .3     the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling
               (certification / reporting requirements).

8        In November 2006, the eighth Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, in
decision VIII/11 on the Environmentally Sound Management of Ship Dismantling, concluded as
follows:

         Noting that …. the International Maritime Organization is developing a new legally
         binding instrument for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships to be
         adopted at the global level, ensuring an efficient and effective solution to the
         problem of ship dismantling and recognizing the need for interagency cooperation
         between the International Labour Organization, the International Maritime
         Organization and the Basel Convention and that duplication of regulatory
         instruments that have the same objective should be avoided…

         1     Welcomes the steps taken by the International Maritime Organization in the
         development of the draft ship recycling convention, intended to be adopted in the
         2008–2009 biennium;

         2     Invites the International Maritime Organization to ensure that the draft ship
         recycling convention to be adopted by it establishes an equivalent level of control
         as that established under the Basel Convention, noting that the duplication of
         regulatory instruments that have the same objective should be avoided;

         4      Invites the International Maritime Organization to continue to have due regard
         to the role, competence and expertise of the Basel Convention in matters related to
         ship dismantling and in particular with respect to the environmentally sound
         management and disposal of hazardous wastes and other wastes;

          10 Underlines the importance of continued cooperation between the
         International Labour Organization, the International Maritime Organization and the
         Basel Convention in considering matters related to ship dismantling, as
         appropriate, and, in particular, on the development of the new draft ship recycling
         convention.

9        In June 2008, the ninth Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, in its decision
IX/30 on Dismantling of Ships, expressed, once again, its support for the development of the
mandatory instrument by IMO for ship recycling and also requested its Open-Ended Working Group
to carry out a preliminary assessment on whether the ship recycling convention, as adopted,
establishes an equivalent level of control and enforcement as that established under the Basel
Convention and to transmit the results of that assessment to the Conference of the Parties at its
tenth meeting to be held in 2011.

10         Starting from March 2006, numerous meetings were arranged by IMO’s MEPC for the
development of the draft text of the convention. After intensive work of over two and a half years,
the fifty-eighth session of MEPC approved the final text of the draft convention in the presence of
delegations from 95 Member States, two Associate Members, representatives from five United
Nations and Specialized Agencies and observers from nine IGOs and 41 NGOs. Seven months
later, a diplomatic Conference was held in Hong Kong, China, to consider and adopt the
convention. The Conference was attended by representatives of 63 Member States, two Associate
Members, representatives from a United Nations Programme and a United Nations Specialized
Agency and observers from one IGO and eight NGOs. Having finalized the text of the convention,
the representatives of the sovereign Governments attending unanimously adopted the “Hong Kong
International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009”, also
known as “the Hong Kong Convention”.
                                                 -4-

11      IMO’s work on ship recycling has continued apace after the adoption of the Hong Kong
Convention, as MEPC had to develop the following six separate guidelines required to support the
uniform and effective implementation of the requirements of the Convention:

             guidelines for the development of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials;
             guidelines for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling;
             guidelines for the development of the Ship Recycling Plan;
             guidelines for the authorization of Ship Recycling Facilities;
             guidelines for survey and certification under the Hong Kong Convention; and
             guidelines for inspection of ships under the Hong Kong Convention.

12       Two of these guidelines were finalized and adopted by MEPC in 2009 and 2011, now
providing a standardized internationally-agreed methodology for developing Inventories of
Hazardous Materials for new and existing ships, and a standardized internationally-agreed
methodology for developing Ship Recycling Plans. Currently, a correspondence group is working on
the development of the remaining four guidelines, and it is expected that the first two of these (on
safe and environmentally sound ship recycling and on the authorization of ship recycling facilities)
will be adopted in March 2012. The remaining two sets of guidelines (on survey and certification
and on inspection of ships) should be developed and adopted by MEPC 64 in October 2012.

Comments on the preliminary assessment by the Special Rapporteur

13       While the outcome of the preliminary assessment of the Hong Kong Convention,
envisaged by the ninth Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, cannot be pre-judged, it
has to be recognized that, because the enforcement of the Basel Convention to ships is not
practicable, the Hong Kong Convention was developed to fill a gap in the ship recycling sector and,
therefore, to achieve higher levels of control and enforcement than those under the Basel
Convention. Accordingly, IMO is looking forward to a positive conclusion to the assessment, so that
the international community is encouraged to embrace the Hong Kong Convention as the single
global standard for regulating the recycling of ships, in the recognition that it was specifically
developed to address the realities of the international maritime industry. Agreement establishing
equivalency will also avoid any potential duplication of regulatory instruments that have the same
objective and, therefore, Parties to the Basel Convention can accede to the Hong Kong Convention
in the certainty that there are no issues of conflicting jurisdiction.

14        IMO is the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for the safety and security
of shipping and the prevention and control of pollution by ships. With these competencies, IMO has
developed the Hong Kong Convention to address the environmental, occupational, health and
safety risks related to ship recycling.

15        Indirectly, these goals do support human rights, but the Convention does not deal, nor
could it deal, specifically with workers rights’ issues, such as labour law, worker welfare, freedom of
association, right to collective bargaining, and rights of workers to social security in the event of
accidents and occupational diseases, as these topics are not within the mandate of IMO. Accession
to the Hong Kong Convention, however, does not, in any way, absolve contracting Governments
from their obligations as Parties to other international instruments, including instruments which
directly address human and workers’ rights issues. Indeed, Article 15.2 of the Hong Kong
Convention very specifically and purposefully states that “Nothing in this Convention shall prejudice
the rights and obligations of Parties under other relevant and applicable international agreements.”

16        Article 15.2 of the Hong Kong Convention can therefore reconcile the two bodies of law –
ship recycling and human rights – through the existing rights and obligations of Parties and should,
in the view of the IMO Secretariat, have been the starting point for the Special Rapporteur’s
preliminary assessment, the objective of which is “to consider the Hong Kong Convention from a
human rights perspective, in order to assess the extent to which the obligations it creates are
consistent with the obligations that its future parties have undertaken under international human
rights law” (paragraph 2 of the preliminary assessment).
                                                  -5-

17         Possibly as a consequence of not basing his preliminary assessment on the
abovementioned conciliation, the Special Rapporteur’s preliminary assessment raises a number of
issues and contains interpretations of the Hong Kong Convention, some of which necessitate
clarification, and some necessitating correction. In particular, the IMO Secretariat feels it is most
important to address issues raised in paragraphs 16 and 19 of the preliminary assessment – all
being matters thoroughly discussed previously in the various IMO forums, with the active
participation of all stakeholders (e.g. representatives of flag, port and recycling States, workers,
industry, IGOs and NGOs, and of ILO and the Basel Convention).

18       Paragraph 16(a) of the preliminary assessment states that the Hong Kong Convention fails
to regulate in detail many important aspects of ship recycling activities, and instead relies on non-
mandatory guidelines to ensure the effective implementation of the Convention.

19        In fact, as indicated in paragraph 3 above, IMO makes use of guidelines to promote global,
uniform and effective implementation and enforcement of standards, virtually in all of its technical
conventions – the principal ones of which are today applicable to no less than 99% of the world’s
merchant shipping. In effect, IMO’s is a goal-based approach to legislation, whereby, in general, the
text of its conventions regulates global standards, while guidelines explain the: “how to do it”.
Furthermore, as the purpose of the preliminary assessment is to consider the equivalency between
the Hong Kong and Basel Conventions, it should have been cognisant of the fact that the Basel
Convention itself has no specific requirements for ship recycling but relies exclusively on its own
non-mandatory guidelines.

20        Paragraph 16(b) of the preliminary assessment states that the Hong Kong Convention
places a disproportionate burden on ship recycling States because it does not impose an obligation
on shipowners to pre-clean ships of their hazardous materials prior to their recycling. Consequently,
the preliminary assessment portrays the view that the Convention does not provide an equivalent
level of control and enforcement as that established under the Basel Convention, since the latter
would, in principle, prohibit the movement of end-of-life ships containing asbestos, PCBs or other
hazardous materials to countries where such wastes could not be handled in an environmentally
sound way.

21       This view is based on technical misapprehension. Pre-cleaning ships of hazardous
materials a long distance from their recycling destination is not feasible. Pre-cleaning a ship
requires the removal of all asbestos (note that to do this, parts of the structure and machinery would
have to be removed first), all cables, much of the electrical equipment, and the paint from decks,
bottom, tanks, and accommodation. The resultant “ship” would be no more than a metal shell that
would therefore have to be towed to its place of recycling. And if pre-cleaning was to be done only
in developed countries (as recommended in paragraph 19(a) of the preliminary assessment), it is
highly unlikely that the economics, practicality and hazards of towing would allow ships to be
recycled in South Asia, or China, which is where around 95% of the world’s tonnage is recycled
today. Instead, the Hong Kong Convention recognizes that pre-cleaning can take place at
authorized facilities in any country, and not only in developed ones, and therefore empowers the
recycling State to authorize or restrict each recycling yard according to its capability. In this way, a
ship may either be pre-cleaned in the facility where the recycling is also to take place, or if the
recycling facility is not suitably equipped (for example, to receive asbestos), the pre-cleaning can be
done at another facility that is equipped and authorized to do so. Therefore, through the Hong Kong
Convention, a recycling State has the mechanism for prohibiting some or all of its facilities from
receiving any specified hazardous materials. Finally, it is important to also note that the Hong Kong
Convention places a proportionate burden on owners of ships flying the flag of Parties by requiring
them to recycle their ships only in authorized facilities. In this way the shipowner is obliged to meet
the ship recycler's costs of compliance with the requirements of the Convention.

22      Paragraph 16(c) of the preliminary assessment notes that there is no provision in the Hong
Kong Convention calling for the gradual phase-out of the “beaching” method. The preliminary
assessment acknowledges that the Basel Convention also does not include such a provision, but
interprets the requirement of article 2.8 of the Basel Convention for “environmentally sound
management” as being unachievable when ships are dismantled on tidal beaches, without concrete
covering or any other containment other than the hull of the ship itself. On this basis, the preliminary
                                                  -6-

assessment concludes that the Hong Kong Convention fails to provide a level of control and
enforcement that is equivalent to that established under the Basel Convention.

23      The developers of the Hong Kong Convention realized that banning of the beaching method
would not achieve the required global standard, since 70% of the world’s recycling capacity relies
on the beaching method and the countries practicing it would not accede to a convention that would
have closed down their ship recycling industries, with all the attendant and significant social and
economic impacts that would imply. Instead, the Convention addresses the reduction of the risks to
human health and safety and to the environment through requirements (i.e. obligations):

           on worker safety and training;
           for the protection of human health and the environment;
           for emergency preparedness and response; and
           for systems of monitoring, reporting and record-keeping.

In this way, IMO intends that the Hong Kong Convention will become the universal standard for
regulating ship recycling activities, whether these are conducted in countries that employ beaching,
or countries employing more advanced methods.

24      Paragraph 16(d) of the preliminary assessment notes that the Hong Kong Convention does
not contain any provision for a ship-recycling fund or other financing mechanism to help ship
recycling facilities comply with the Convention’s requirements. The preliminary assessment also
reiterates the view that, with the exception of cases where technical assistance is provided, the
costs for improving human health and environmental protection will have to be borne by the ship
recycling facilities.

25       A proposal for the establishment of an international mandatory ship recycling fund to help
“green recycling facilities” was made on more than one occasion by an NGO during the IMO
discussions leading to adoption of the Hong Kong Convention. The proposal was rejected by the
IMO Member States and the sovereign Governments that adopted the Hong Kong Convention.
Instead, the Convention requires, through article 13, Parties to undertake technical assistance, co-
operation and technology transfer; as does the Basel Convention. It is worth noting that, at IMO,
technical assistance and co-operation is delivered through the Organization’s Integrated Technical
Co-operation Programme (ITCP), which is central to IMO’s mission. The ITCP has already carried
out technical co-operation in the ship recycling sector, and is developing further significant technical
co-operation interventions in advance of the Convention’s entry into force – as it has done
following adoption of other IMO treaty instruments, with the intention of ensuring that the capacity is
there for global, uniform and effective implementation and enforcement, from the moment the
instrument in question enters into force. It is also important to recall, again, that the Hong Kong
Convention requires owners of ships flying the flag of Parties to recycle their ships only in
authorized facilities, in this way obliging the shipowner to meet the recycler's costs of compliance
(see also paragraph 19 above).

26      Paragraph 16(e) of the preliminary assessment notes that the Hong Kong Convention
stipulates that wastes generated from recycling activities should only be transferred to a waste-
management facility authorised to deal with their treatment and disposal in an environmentally
sound manner, but that there are no provisions in the Convention to ensure that waste dispatched
to downstream facilities is traceable, so as to enable verification of its proper handling, treatment
and ultimate disposal. The preliminary assessment also notes that the Basel Convention
emphasises the importance of the traceability of waste until its final disposal, so as to ensure that
waste is managed and disposed of in accordance with the principle of environmentally sound
management.

27       Regulation 20.3 of the Hong Kong Convention requires that "Ship Recycling Facilities
authorized by a Party shall provide for and ensure safe and environmentally sound management of
all Hazardous Materials and wastes removed from the ship recycled at that Ship Recycling Facility.
Waste management and disposal sites shall be identified to provide for the further safe and
environmentally sound management of materials". More explicit provisions for the traceability of the
wastes are contained in the draft "Guidelines for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling",
                                                   -7-

paragraph 3.4.2.6. It is also paramount to underline that Party obligations arising under the Basel
Convention for the environmentally sound management of wastes, would continue to apply after the
entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention. So, in this respect, the regulations of the Hong Kong
Convention stop where the Basel Convention takes over.

28     Paragraph 16(f) of the preliminary assessment notes that the Hong Kong Convention
requires ship recycling States to approve ships that will be recycled within their jurisdiction by
reviewing the ship-specific inventory of hazardous materials and the ship-specific Ship Recycling
Plan, so as to ensure that the capabilities of the recycling facility match the ship to be recycled.
However, regulation 9.4.2 and article 16.6 allow ship recycling States to opt out of an explicit
approval procedure of each Ship Recycling Plan and, instead, to require a tacit approval procedure.
The preliminary assessment concludes that to satisfy the Basel Convention’s requirement of “prior
informed consent” explicit approval of every ship entering a Party’s jurisdiction should be required.

29        The provision of a tacit approval procedure was made at the request of a Member State who
already has in place all the necessary checks and balances to ensure that ship recycling facilities
fulfil the applicable regulatory requirements. It was argued convincingly that, in such cases, another
layer of checks would only cause unnecessary delays and bureaucracy. It is worth noting
additionally that, in accordance with article 1.3 of the Convention, a Party can require the explicit
approval of the Ship Recycling Plans for all ships flying its flag.

30     Paragraph 16(g) of the preliminary assessment notes that the Hong Kong Convention does
not apply to warships or other ships owned or operated by a State party and used for non-
commercial service (article 3.2), nor does it apply to small ships (less than 500 GT) (article 3.3).
The preliminary assessment contains the observation that both categories of ships fall within the
scope of the Basel Convention.

31      It needs to be pointed out that article 3.2 of the Hong Kong Convention reproduces article
236 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on Sovereign immunity. On
the other hand, the application of the Hong Kong Convention to ships larger than 500 GT reflects
practical considerations, in that such small ships do not sail to distant lands to be recycled. It also
has to be noted that, in line with UNCLOS, the Hong Kong Convention requires Parties to ensure
that, even though the Convention’s requirements are not applicable to them, both categories of
ships act in a manner consistent with the Convention as far as reasonable and practicable (article
3.2 and 3.3).

32      Finally, paragraph 16(h) of the preliminary assessment notes that the stringent requirements
for the entry into force of the new Convention raise concerns as to the time it will take before the
Convention actually comes into force, and proposes that steps should be taken, during the interim
period, to ensure the environmentally sound management of ship-recycling facilities.

33       It is recognized that the conditions for entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention could
take some time to be fulfilled. For the interim period, IMO Member States have been requested,
through resolution 5 of the Hong Kong Diplomatic Conference, to consider applying, on a voluntary
basis and in advance of their entry into force, the technical requirements of the Convention to ships
flying their flag and to ship recycling facilities operating under their jurisdiction. The IMO Secretariat
is actively promoting such early implementation by the maritime industry and, for this purpose, is in
frequent contact with all relevant ship recycling and shipowning associations and with interested
flag and recycling States and is providing technical co-operation.

Conclusion

34     IMO’s mandate provides for Governments to co-operate in the development and adoption of
standards for the shipping industry and in promoting their global, uniform and effective
implementation and enforcement. In so doing, IMO’s 169 Member Governments and three
Associate Members collaborate closely with a wide range of intergovernmental and non-
governmental organizations with a variety of interests in international shipping. As a result of such
engagement, the Organization has an enviable track record of successfully adopting – virtually
                                                 -8-

always by consensus – no less than 52 treaty instruments, 21 of which are exclusively dedicated to
environmental protection.

35       And it is worth repeating that the principal IMO Conventions now apply to no less than 99%
of the world’s merchant shipping. Today’s ships are safer, more secure, more efficient and cleaner
than ever before – in large part owing to the global application of IMO’s technical standards and to
their permanent adaptation or revision to take account of technological developments and other
imperatives.

36        The mandatory requirements for ship recycling were prepared and adopted by IMO at the
express invitation of COP 7 of the Parties to the Basel Convention. In developing the Hong Kong
Convention, IMO, with the support of the international community, bridged a gap in maritime law by
establishing, for the first time, mandatory requirements for the safe and environmentally sound
recycling of ships that take account of the particular characteristics of world maritime transport and
are practicable, achievable and globally enforceable. These treaty obligations are being
supplemented by guidelines aimed at empowering all relevant stakeholders with guidance on
compliance with the mandatory standards, and by the provision of technical assistance and the
transfer of technology to developing countries to build capacity (human, legislative, institutional,
scientific, technical) for such compliance.

37       In adopting the Hong Kong Convention, it was the international community’s objective that
it should be the universal standard regulating ship recycling activities, through the inclusion of
standards ensuring:

       .1      the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe
               and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising their safety and
               operational efficiency;

         .2    the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound
               manner; and

         .3    the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling.

38     The Hong Kong Convention, as adopted, today provides for all of the foregoing, whilst also
             containing associated requirements:

         .1    on worker safety and training;

         .2    for the protection of human health and the environment;

         .3    for emergency preparedness and response; and

         .4    for systems of monitoring, reporting and record-keeping.

39      As with all other IMO treaty instruments, as experience is gained in the application of the
Hong Kong Convention’s standards, as their benefits are assessed, as lessons are learned, and as
ship recycling techniques and technology develop, so too will the Convention’s requirements be
adjusted, with the sole aim of always enhancing the safety and environmental effectiveness of the
activities it regulates internationally.

40     Adoption of the Hong Kong Convention was thus but the end of a beginning, and
Governments with shipping and recycling interests should now work hard to ratify it at the earliest
possible opportunity so as to expedite its entry into force and, thereafter, ensure its implementation,
enforcement and continuous improvement.

41     In conclusion, notwithstanding what are interpreted by the Special Rapporteur as being
deficiencies, and regardless of improvements that remain to be introduced in the international
regulatory regime, IMO is convinced that universal adoption of the Hong Kong Convention, and its
                                               -9-

effective implementation and enforcement thereafter, will significantly and positively reduce risks
that undermine the human rights of those working in the ship recycling industry.

                                             ______

				
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