03 March 2017

Safer and 'greener' ship recycling should be common goal, conference told

Ship recycling in Alang, India. Credit: PA Images

The need to improve safety and environmental protection in ship recycling should be a common goal for all, said Mitsu Ida, deputy director at Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism (MLIT).

This includes ship recyclers, shipowners, classification societies, as well as governments and the workforce in the ship-recycling industry.

Ida works with the International Affairs, Shipbuilding and Ship Machinery Division, Maritime Bureau under the MLIT. He highlighted the progress of international guidelines for ship recycling, from none at all before the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) broached the topic in 2000, progressing slowing until the establishment of the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) in 2009, before the rapid developments seen in the past two years.

“It took a long time indeed, but I believe we are moving in the right direction,” Ida said at the TradeWinds Ship Recycling Forum, held in Singapore from 27 to 28 February.

Speaking about Japan’s role in ship recycling in southern Asia, he said that it had developed the framework and guidelines, setting in place the model and giving it momentum for further improvements on the standards imposed by the HKC.

However, the industry continues to face further challenges, in the areas of enhancing and maintaining safety, alongside issues of environmental protection.

Ida said that besides the first movers and early followers of the HKC, it was necessary to get others on board, so that the ship-recycling industry can identify emerging issues and find solutions. This would help maintain the trustworthiness of standards imposed by the HKC. 

Asked when Japan will ratify the HKC, Ida did not give a definitive answer but said that Japan has “already started working (to discuss) how to implement HKC”, and hopes for quicker progress.

Source:28 February 2017

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