Ships are designed, and operated, in compliance with international regulations, and are, therefore, subject to an existing liability and protection regime during their entire lifetime. The expectation that a ship complies with a different regime, by changing her status from "ship" to "waste" as stipulated in the Basel Convention, is unsustainable.
BIMCO believes that ship recycling is the most environmentally friendly way of disposing of ships at the end of their economic lives and BIMCO welcomes the Hong Kong Convention, as it is aimed at ensuring that ships being recycled do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment.
A ban of the beaching method will seriously impact the possibilities to recycle ships as a majority of the world’s recycling facilities uses this method. BIMCO acknowledges that there are unsolved safety and environmental issues when using the beaching method, and believes that it would be the best way forward would be to explore possible ways to improve the beaching method.
Shipowners have a role to play, and responsibility to take, in the transitional period before the Hong Kong Convention enters into force. A long transitional period is not helpful for the industry, as it leads to confusion and attracts criticism for not taking into account environmental expectations. BIMCO therefore urges parties to ratify the Hong Kong Convention as soon as possible. Furthermore, BIMCO supports the IMO initiative of an early de facto requirement of an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM), provided that the recycling facility is similarly required to produce a Ship Recycling Plan (SRP) demonstrating commitment to worker health and protection of the environment.
BIMCO is concerned that a EU transitional initiative to address measures to be taken in the interim until the Hong Kong Convention enters into force could hinder ratification.
Source: BIMCO. 01 July 2011