16 July 2011

MEPC This Week – What will be said of the Hong Kong Convention & the IHM?

The International Maritime Organisation’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee (also known as the MEPC) are holding their 62nd session in London from 11th – 15th July. There are many topics that need to be dealt with by such a committee, as shipping and the impact it holds on the environment is often in the news.

Understandably, Greenhouse Gas emissions are a topic that is likely to demand a great deal of time from the MEPC as new technologies are developed all the time.

A further issue that has been raised regularly at past MEPC meetings is ship recycling, the Basel Convention and the implementation of the Hong Kong Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships 2009. It is important that this remains at the forefront of the committee’s minds as issues are arising daily from the shipbreaking beaches of Bangladesh. The Hong Kong Convention promises to put an end to the requirement for vessels to be quietly taken off to south Asian beaches to be broken up by under-paid and under-equipped workers, exposing the beaches and marine environment to an untold number of hazardous materials and chemicals. Instead, the convention suggests the adoption of all vessels to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, thereby improving awareness and acknowledgement of the hazards present and how to manage them correctly.

The convention has already caused a stir in the market, with breaking beaches such as Bangladesh now trying to mend their ways, however only 5 countries have at present signed the convention. The MEPC will have to consider the uptake of the convention and how further countries can decide to sign the convention and implement it’s suggestions.

Source: Lucion Marine. 13th July 2011

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