Everything about HongKong Convention

Consider the following statements about Hong Kong Convention

1.      It is concerned with Ship breaking

2.      India has ratified the convention

3.      It was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO)

Select the correct statements

a       1 and 2
b       2 and 3
c       1 and 3
d       All of the above

Solution (c)

The Hong Kong International Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships, or Hong Kong Convention is a mulitateral convention adopted in 2009, which has not entered into force. The conference that created the convention was attended by 63 countries, and overseen by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which is a specialist agency of the United Nations (U.N).

The convention has been designed to try to improve the health and safety of current ship breaking practices. Ship breaking is considered to be “amongst the most dangerous of occupations, with unacceptably high levels of fatalities, injuries and work-related diseases” by the ILO as large ships are often beached and then dismantled by hand by workers with very little personal protective equipment (PPE). This is most common in Asia, with India, Bangladesh, China, and Pakistan holding the largest ship breaking yards.

The Hong Kong Convention recognised that ship recycling is the most environmentally sound way to dispose of a ship at the end of its life, as most of the ship’s materials can be reused. However, it sees current methods as unacceptable. The work sees many injuries and fatalities to workers, as they lack the correct safety equipment to handle the large ship correctly as it is dismantled and most vessels contain a large amount of hazardous materials such as asbestos, PCBs, TBT, and CFCs, which can also lead to highly life-threatening diseases such as mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Indian Context

·         India has drafted legislation to implement the ‘Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships’.

·         The IMO Convention does not prohibit the beaching method which is followed in India.

·         It will make the ship recycling industry safe for its workers and the environment

·         India follows the beaching method to dismantle ships, which is often criticised for its lax safety and health aspects. Under this method, ships are first grounded and then dismantled.

·         India is upgrading the world’s largest stretch of ship-breaking beaches on Alang-Sosiya in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district through a $76-million soft loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.