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Turkey ratifies Hong Kong Convention for safe recycling of ships

4 February, 2019IndustriALL Global Union welcomes Turkey’s ratification of the Hong Kong Convention for the safe and environmentally sound ship recycling, but says more countries must urgently follow suit.

Turkey is one of the five major ship recycling countries in the world, including Bangladesh, China, India and Pakistan, that account for more than 90 per cent of all ship recycling by tonnage. 

The International Maritime Organization’s Convention enters into force 24 months after ratification by 15 states, representing 40 per cent of the world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, and a combined maximum annual ship recycling volume not less than 3 per cent of their combined tonnage.

IndustriALL represents trade unions in the shipbreaking sector around the world and has strongly lobbied countries to ratify the treaty:

“It is a significant step forward that Turkey, as a major ship recycling country, has ratified the Hong Kong Convention. However, ten years after it was established, not enough states have signed the treaty for it to go into force. We can’t wait any longer. There are too many deaths and too many workers exposed to hazardous conditions in the shipbreaking industry,” says Kan Matsuzaki, IndustriALL’s director for shipbuilding and shipbreaking. 

“The Convention is a minimum and a first step for all stakeholders to take responsibility to provide - and workers have a right to expect - safe, healthy, clean and sustainable jobs. We urge all the remaining big shipping and shipbreaking states to ratify as soon as possible.” 

Turkey is the seventh state to ratify the Hong Kong Convention after Belgium, Congo, Denmark, France, Norway and Panama. Together, they represent more than 20 percent of world merchant shipping tonnage. Major shipping and/or shipbreaking states such as Bangladesh, China, Cyprus, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore and the UK must ratify to fulfill the rest of the HKC requirement.

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships, and preparation for ship recycling in order to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships.

Under the Convention, ships to be sent for recycling are required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship. 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, including proper safety training.