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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Cabinet has approved accession to the “Hong Kong International Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships, 2009,” according to which Pakistan has to ensure the availability of relevant technology, equipment and facilities for the safe disposal of any hazardous materials in the recycled ship, well informed sources told Business Recorder.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), a London-based United Nations Agency, is responsible to set standards for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry. Pakistan has been a member of the Organisation since its establishment in 1958 and had ratified 27 Conventions and Protocols of the IMO till now.

Sharing the details, sources said, the “Hong Kong International Convention (HKC) for the Safe and Environmental Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009” had been adopted at an international conference in Hong Kong, China from 11th to 15th May. The Convention aims at ensuring that ships, when recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health and safety, or to the environment.

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It was noted that there were three aspects of the HKC, control over ships and recycling facilities, disposal of hazardous materials ashore and welfare of labourers. The Ministry said that in terms of its Article 3, the Convention shall apply to ships entitled to fly the flag of a party or operating under its authority, and to ship recycling facilities operating under the jurisdiction of a party.

Upon entry into force, parties will be required to take effective measures to ensure that ship recycling facilities under their jurisdiction comply with the provisions of the Convention and the Guidelines made there under within 24 months after accession/ ratification. This would entail the following:(i) ships to be sent for recycling are required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials (Pakistan flagged ships already comply with this requirement); and (ii) provision of a “Ship Recycling Plan” by ship recycling yards, specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled.

The Ministry further stated that as of August 2023, twenty-two countries, including Bangladesh, Belgium, Congo, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Ghana, India, Liberia, Panama, and Turkiye, had ratified and acceded to the Convention. It was further highlighted that the conditions of ratification had been met and the convention would enter into force on June 26, 2025. The Ministry; therefore, emphasised the importance for the Government of Pakistan to accede to the Convention to gain maximum advantage ‘for the ship recycling industry in Pakistan and to avoid loss of the ship-breaking/ recycling business’.

The Ministry further stated that consultations had been held with the stakeholders on the proposal being presented to the cabinet. A meeting with all stakeholders was earlier convened by MoMA on May 4, 2023. The Ministry stated that the responses of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Ministry of Climate Change, Ministry of Defence Production, Federal Board of Revenue, Government of Balochistan, Pakistan Ship Breakers Association and Ministry of Defence had been obtained and placed before the cabinet. It was added that all stakeholders including Government of Balochistan had agreed to the accession/ ratification of the Convention.

The Ministry explained that a summary moved earlier for the Cabinet’s approval for Accession to Hong Kong convention had been returned with the advice to consult in detail with MoD, MoDP and MoFA. Accordingly, a meeting was called, which was attended by the representatives of MoD, MoDP and MoFA who after thorough discussion agreed to the proposal of accession to the Hong Kong Convention.

The Ministry further noted that after Pakistan’s accession to the Convention, and to ensure its implementation, the Government of Pakistan was required to undertake the following measures before June 26, 2025: (i) promulgate an Act for sustainable ship recycling; (ii) frame a sustainable ship recycling code (consisting of current 6 guidelines of IMO on HKC); (iii) provide training to its personnel; and (iv) ensure the availability of relevant technology, equipment and facilities for the safe disposal of any hazardous materials in the recycled ship.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Alizay Nov 30, 2023 10:54am
Thats indeed good for the shipbraker labour's.
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