BIMCO position statement 05: Ship Recycling


BIMCO's position has been approved by the BIMCO Board of Directors.


Ship recycling is the most environmentally sound way to dispose of ships at the end of their commercial lives and contributes to the circular economy through the supply of scrap steel to the steel producing industries, thereby reducing both the need for raw materials such as iron ore and the overall CO2 emissions from the production of new steel.

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (the HKC) was adopted in 2009 but has not yet entered into force. It is hoped that once all the criteria have been met, the entry into force of the HKC will take precedence over the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention), and the Ban Amendment to the Basel Convention (Basel Ban) that entered into force in 1992 and 2019, respectively, with regard to transboundary export of ships for recycling.

Regulation (EU) No. 1257/2013 on ship recycling (the EUSRR) was adopted in 2013 and is aimed at facilitating the entry into force of the HKC. Ships calling at a port or anchorage of a port in the European Economic Area (EEA) must regardless of its flag have on board an inventory of hazardous materials (IHM) that specifies the location and approximate quantities of such materials. Ships flying the flag of an EU member state must be recycled only in those safe and environmentally sound ship recycling facilities included in the European list of ship recycling facilities. The recently published third edition of the BIMCO report on the European List of Ship Recycling Facilities concluded that no facilities from the main recycling states are included on the EU list.

To increase capacity at HKC compliant facilities, it is in the interests of shipowners to use such yards at their earliest convenience. This would also support the business case for compliant ship-recycling yards.

Further, the Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention) entered into force in 1992. It is applicable to EU member states through the EU Waste Regulation (Regulation (EC) No. 1013/2006). The Ban Amendment to the Basel Convention (Basel Ban) prohibits all transboundary movement of hazardous waste (including end-of-life ships), which is intended for final disposal and/or recycling, from member countries of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to developing countries. It entered into force in 2019.

Shipowners are responsible for updating their ships' IHMs based on suppliers’ documentation in the form of mandatory Material Declarations. As most materials received onboard ships are produced and delivered outside Europe, the development and correct maintenance of the EU - IHM present a challenging requirement for shipowners..

BIMCO’s Position

  • BIMCO strongly supports the HKC and its aims to ensure that ships being recycled do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety nor to the environment.
  • BIMCO encourages recycling states to ratify the HKC to ensure the entry into force conditions can be met as quickly as possible.
  • BIMCO believes that the HKC, once entering into force, should prevail in any international law conflict between the HKC and the Basel Convention, and the HKC should henceforth be recognised as the authoritative framework for ship recycling.
  • BIMCO strongly recommends the use of BIMCO’s standard contract for the sale of ships for green recycling, RECYCLECON. This recommendation also applies during the transitional period before the HKC has entered into force, as the contract incorporates many of the requirements of the HKC.
  • BIMCO endorses the EUSRR’s aim of facilitating early ratification of the HKC.
  • BIMCO believes that there is an urgent need to ensure that the European list of approved ship recycling facilities is also fit for recycling of ships engaged in deep sea shipping and BIMCO supports the EU’s endeavours to conclude bilateral agreements with major ship recycling nations to this effect.
  • BIMCO is of the opinion that while the content of the Material Declarations must be improved to enable shipowners to properly maintain the IHM, this cannot be achieved through regional legislation.
  • BIMCO believes that HKC compliance will become a standard requirement condition of sale for ships destined for recycling.
Aron Soerensen
in Copenhagen, DK

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