The Netherlands has become the latest state to ratify the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 (Hong Kong Convention), bringing it one step closer to entering into force.

The Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Cora van Nieuwenhuizen presented the instrument of ratification to IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim at a ceremony held in IMO Headquarters on Monday, December 9.

“We are very grateful to the Government of The Netherlands for their strong support and commitment to this important convention. This is further encouragement for other countries to go ahead with ratification and help make progress towards entry into force,” said Mr. Lim.

IMO Secretary-General went ahead and said. “This is excellent news, and I warmly congratulate the Government of the Netherlands on this important step towards bringing into force the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.”

The convention, adopted in 2009, provides an international regulatory framework for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling. It sets out a series of requirements to be met by ships when they are prepared for recycling and by ship recycling facilities.

As adopted by IMO in 2009, the Hong Kong Convention will establish global standards for ship recycling, including measures to minimize risks associated with ship recycling, such as pollution and safety concerns. 

The convention will also require ships to be recycled only at facilities that are included in a green list of approved ship recycling facilities complying with its standards and requirements.

The convention aims to ensure that ship recycling is carried out without endangering human health or safety or causing damage to the environment, specifically that toxic substances contained within ships are managed appropriately during the recycling process.

The treaty also establishes a certification system for ship recycling facilities. Those meeting the specified criteria will be issued a certificate and placed on a list of approved ship recycling facilities.

In addition, ship recycling yards are required to provide a “Ship Recycling Plan” specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.

 Ship recycling yards must also comply with labor rights and occupational health standards and are subject to inspection by port states.

According to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), around 50% of global steel production is used in the construction of commercial shipping vessels. The IMO says that with this addition, a further 65.11 percent of world merchant shipping tonnage is now covered by Parties to the convention.

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