MEPC 57 - Ship recycling

IMO’s Working Group charged with developing the International Ship Recycling Convention continued to make good progress on the draft Convention this week at the MEPC 57 meeting. Agreement was reached that the final draft Convention will be adopted in May 2009 at a Diplomatic Conference in Hong Kong. There are two meetings of the Working Group between now and then. With only two significant issues to resolve, completion of the draft Convention is likely to be on schedule.


One of the significant issues to be resolved relates to how the Convention will enter into force. Unlike many other IMO Conventions that stipulate a certain number of countries and a certain number of ships before the legislation can enter into force, the Ship Recycling Convention requires an additional entry into force criteria, that of ship recycling state capacity. This is an important element in this legislation, which should ensure that when the Convention enters into force, there are sufficient countries that are Party to the Convention and that have adequate capacity to recycle the ships of those other state Parties. At the meeting this week it was agreed that a resolution would be drafted to overcome these problems and the possible mismatch of ship owning and ship recycling Parties ratifying the Convention.


On a more practical level, the second important element to be resolved at the next two Working Group meetings will be the sequence of authorisation and certification when a ship goes for recycling at the end of its operational life. Discussion revolves around the authorisation of a ship as Ready for Recycling by the flag administration, and the subsequent approval that the ship can be recycled in the intended state by the recycling state authority.


There is some support for a second approval from the recycling state after approval has been given by the flag administration.


INTERTANKO will be contributing to this discussion and intends to submit a paper, together with industry partners, to clarify its view on this important aspect of the Convention and to ensure that the process is not over complicated and does not present any increased commercial risk for the ship or the recycling facility.


Once the Convention has been adopted in 2009, work will commence on completing the various guidelines which will be needed to assist in harmonising the implementation of the Convention’s requirements. Guidelines for developing the Inventory of Hazardous Materials will be important for the industry in ensuring that there is uniformity in the standard IHMs and the level of detail required in the documents. Threshold values for the materials will need to be considered, as well as the methodology for visual and sampling checks when drawing up the IHM for existing ships.


Contact: Tim Wilkins