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Bangladesh and India must accelerate ratification of Hong Kong Convention

21 November, 2018An IndustriALL delegation has met with ministries in Bangladesh and India to accelerate the process of ratification of the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) for safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships.

In the light of this year’s fatal accidents, killing 19 workers in Bangladesh and 9 in India, there is an urgent need to implement the HKC for a safe, secure and sustainable shipbreaking industry in these countries.

For the convention to come into force it needs to be ratified by 15 countries that represent 40 per cent of global merchant shipping and an average of 3 per cent of recycling tonnage.  So far, six shipbuilding countries have ratified the HKC. As China will be limit its shipbreaking activities from January 2019, Bangladesh and India will play a vital role in bringing the convention into force.

Kan Matsuzaki IndustriALL’s shipbuilding and shipbreaking director, says:

India and Bangladesh are key to achieving a sustainable future in the shipbreaking industry. Ratification and compliance with the HKC would bring investment, health and safety training, and more importantly a social dialogue where workers’ voices can be heard.

Vidyadhar Rane, vice chairperson of IndustriALL’s shipbuilding and shipbreaking sector and  Kan Matsuzaki, met with senior officials of Bangladesh’ Ministry of Industries on 15 November. Officials said the government of Bangladesh is pushing hard to improve the situation at yard level in order to meet the requirements of the Hong Kong Convention.

The SENSREC project, a joint venture between the International Maritime Organization and the Ministry of Industries, together with the recently approved Bangladesh Ship Recycling Act of 2017, are concrete steps to this end.

Officials said that they are seeking international partnerships and technical support to bring the country’s ship recycling facilities up to the mark.

On 17 November, the IndustriALL delegation met with the joint secretary at India’s Ministry of Shipping. The discussion revolved around establishing social dialogue and unions’ proposal to solve issues on the ground, as well as intensifying the process to ratify the HKC. The joint secretary explained that a law in line with Hong Kong Convention has been drafted and is ready to be tabled in the parliament. Once passed, this law will ease India’s way to ratify the convention.