The third phase of an IMO-implemented project to enhance safe and environmentally sound ship recycling in Bangladesh has been given the go-ahead, with Norway committing approximately US$1.5 million (14 million Norwegian Kroner) to support improved ship recycling in Bangladesh.
The agreement between IMO and the Government of Norway to support Phase III of the project on Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling in Bangladesh (SENSREC) was signed on 24 July 2020. This will pave the way for Bangladesh to move forward on its path towards becoming a party to the IMO Hong Kong Convention, the treaty that will set global standards for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling.
The Agreement follows the successful implementation of Phase I (2015-17) and Phase II (2018 - 2020) of the SENSREC Project, both mainly funded by Norway. With the additional funding, Phase III of the project will be implemented over 18 months, starting from November 2020.
SENSREC Phase III will focus on improving ship recycling standards in compliance with the Hong Kong Convention and enhancing capacity building for the Government of Bangladesh on legislation and knowledge management. Specific technical assistance will be provided to the Government of Bangladesh to establish a facility for treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes. There will also be a focus on evaluating the impact of Covid-19 on the ship recycling industry in Bangladesh.
The Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh, Ms Sidsel Bleken, said that the SENSREC Project had already achieved significant progress, thanks to the commitment of the Government authorities as well as the ship-recycling industry of Bangladesh.
"Norway is pleased to extend its support to Bangladesh and our thanks go to IMO for their important role in this Project. Through IMO, we will continue to support the authorities, the industry, and other stakeholders in strengthening their efforts to develop Bangladesh's ship-recycling industry and the country's economy. We hope to see more yards complying with the requirements of the Hong Kong Convention, so that Bangladesh can be ready to accede to the Convention in the soonest possible time," Her Excellency Ms Bleken said.
The Agreement was signed by the Her Excellency Ms. Bleken and IMO Secretary-General Mr. Kitack Lim.
Thanking the Government of Norway for their generous contribution, Mr. Lim said, "The continuation of this project will greatly enhance national capacities for Bangladesh for safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships. The success of this Phase III of the project will be seen in the crucial technical assistance role that will support the goals of Bangladesh to establish a facility for treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous wastes and ultimately support its aim to accede to the Hong Kong Convention."
The Hong Kong Convention
The Hong Kong Convention1 covers the design, construction, operation and maintenance of ships to ensure they can be recycled safely and in an environment-friendly way at the end of their lives. It also deals with how ships should be prepared for their final voyage to a recycling facility, without compromising their safety or operational efficiency.
Under the Hong Kong Convention, ships sent for recycling are required to carry an inventory of all hazardous materials on board. Ship recycling facilities are required to provide a "Ship Recycling Plan", specifying how each ship will be recycled, based on its particular characteristics and its inventory of hazardous materials.
The treaty will enter into force 24 months after three separate criteria have been met. It must be ratified by 15 States - but these States must represent 40% of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, and a combined maximum annual ship recycling volume (during the preceding 10 years) of not less than 3% of their combined gross tonnage.
The number of States2 required has now been reached, but further tonnage and recycling volumes are needed before the convention can enter into force.
The top five ship recycling countries in the world, between them accounting for more than 98% of all ship recycling by gross tonnage3, are Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey (of these, two are already Parties to the Hong Kong Convention - India and Turkey).