Liberia has taken a major leap towards ensuring that the environment is protected in the operations of the global ship recycling industry by depositing the country’s ratified Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. This milestone decision paves the way for the treaty to come into full force in two years after attaining the required threshold of member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The instrument was deposited with IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, by the Commissioner of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Lenn Eugene Nagbe on June 26, 2023 in London.
The Hong Kong Convention is aimed at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and to the environment.
The Hong Kong Convention will enter into force 24 months after the following required criteria have been met: not less than 15 States ratified it; not less than 40% of the world’s merchant shipping by gross tonnage; and ship recycling capacity of not less than 3% of the gross tonnage of the combined merchant shipping of those States mentioned above. By the decision of Liberia to deposit this important instrument, these conditions have now been met. The Hong Kong Convention will enter into force on 26 June 2025.
In remarks, the Commissioner and CEO of the Liberia Maritime Authority, Lenn Eugene Nagbe said: “As a preeminent partner in global maritime affairs, Liberia takes its vested responsibility to ensuring safe and environmentally responsible practices throughout the industry by the enactment and adherence to laws and regulations to help guide maritime activities. It is therefore with great pride that we have deposited the ratified Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, thus attaining the required threshold for this critically important international convention to finally come into force.”
He emphasized that as a major flag state, “the coming into force of this convention will enable our national regulatory framework to work for the benefit of the maritime industry and open opportunities for additional investments into responsible ship recycling, globally and in Liberia. Today is indeed a great and historic day for world shipping.”
As one of the largest flag State, Liberia’s accession has enabled the tonnage criteria to be met.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim lauded Liberia and other member states for their accessions to the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.
“I congratulate Liberia and other member states who have ratified this instrument for depositing their instruments of accession this June, triggering within 24 months the entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, and the global regime for safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships. This is a momentous day for IMO, and it is indeed a historical development for the international shipping industry, for the marine environment, and especially for workers and local communities in ship recycling countries globally,” the IMO Secretary General Lim stated.
He added that giving Liberia’s position as a prominent flag state, their ratification/accession to the Hong Kong Convention “will provide a major advancement to Liberia’s regulatory framework and would enable the tonnage criteria to be met,” Mr. Lim said.
“I invite other Member States, who have not yet become a party to the Hong Kong Convention, to do so as soon as possible,” he added.
Secretary General Mr. Lim said. “I take this opportunity to also thank the Government of Norway for their continued support to the IMO-implemented project on Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling in Bangladesh (SENSREC), which has helped to make this accession possible. I would also like to express my deepest appreciation to Liberia.