On January 18, 2023, the Deputy Commissioner of Maritime Affairs of the Republic of the Marshall Islands deposited the Marshall Islands' instrument of accession to the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships ("Hong Kong Convention") with the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization ("IMO"). The ceremony took place at the IMO headquarters in London.

The Hong Kong Convention, adopted at a 2009 diplomatic conference in Hong Kong, will enter into force on June 26, 2025. It was developed with the contribution of IMO Member States and non-governmental organizations, and in cooperation with the International Labour Organization and the parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.

The Hong Kong Convention aims to reduce the unnecessary risks to the environment and to human health and safety associated with the recycling of ships at the end of their operational lives. In this regard, the environmental and safety aspects of ship recycling are comprehensively addressed, including the responsible management and disposal of associated waste streams in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

In addition, the Hong Kong Convention establishes responsibilities and obligations for all parties, such as ship recycling facilities and ship building yards. In addition to the Marshall Islands, the parties to the Hong Kong Convention are Bangladesh, Belgium, Republic of the Congo, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Japan, Liberia, Luxembourg, Malta, Kingdom of the Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Panama, Portugal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Serbia, Spain, and Türkiye.

When the Hong Kong Convention enters into force, the following measures will be adopted:

(i) Ships sent for recycling must keep an inventory of hazardous materials aboard;

(ii) Ship recycling facilities authorized by the competent authorities will provide a ship recycling plan, specific to each vessel that will be recycled;

(iii) Governments will ensure that recycling facilities under their jurisdiction comply with the convention.

The Hong Kong Convention will also address issues related to working conditions in many of the world's ship recycling facilities.

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