BIMCO calls on shipowners to observe responsible ship recycling ahead of HK Convention’s entry into force


The IMO, Bangladesh, and Liberia have announced the ratification of the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) by both nations, triggering the Convention’s entry into force in June 2025. BIMCO believes the ratification marks the beginning of a new era for the ship recycling industry, and ahead of the HKC’s entry in force it is calling on shipowners to choose globally compliant yards for the benefit of the industry’s workers and the environment.

The ratification comes at a time when the need for compliant facilities from the main recycling states such as India, Bangladesh and Pakistan is critical, as more than 15,000 ships will be recycled over the next ten years, according to BIMCO estimates.

“Fourteen years ago, 63 nations adopted the Hong Kong Convention,” says BIMCO Secretary General & CEO, David Loosley, who points out that finally Bangladesh and Liberia have ”paved the way for the convention to enter into force.” He describes the move as ”more than just a step in the right direction, it is a leap that will benefit the environment and workers in the ship recycling industry. The Hong Kong Convention entering into force means that a fully sustainable ship-recycling industry is possible and within reach.”

BIMCO has persistently called for the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, commonly known as the Hong Kong Convention, to enter into force, and applauds the 20 nations that have already ratified.

During a visit to Chattogram and Dhaka in Bangladesh in early May by BIMCO and other industry organisations to discuss the benefits of ratifying the convention, Bangladesh confirmed its commitment to ratify this year. In addition to addressing safety benefits, ship recycling holds significant potential for contributing to the circular economy, as the industry provides thousands of jobs, and the steel is re-used. But it must be done safely and responsibly.

“We commend Bangladesh’s and Liberia’s commitment to making ship recycling safe. Today is the real beginning, the work starts now. We will continue to call on shipowners to commit to choosing globally compliant yards when their ships reach the end of their life cycle,” Loosley says.

The Hong Kong Convention was developed over three and a half years in cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the parties to the Basel Convention. It was adopted by 63 countries in 2009 and addresses safety, proper working conditions, environmental issues and how to deal with hazardous materials. The Hong Kong Convention has, until today, not been ratified by enough nations to enter into force.