In 2003, IMO published the ”IMO GUIDELINES ON SHIP RECYCLING”, which together with the guidelines from Basel Convention and ILO, comprises the basic recommendations for the shipbreaking industry.

Together these three organizations, IMO, ILO and BC have worked together, forming a joint WG for the purpose of synchronizing and harmonizing their efforts. They all stand behind the new ship recycling treaty that was signed in Hong Kong on the 15th of May 2009 - “The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009”.

The HONG KONG SRC 2009 will probably enter into force in 2015 at the earliest. At least 15 states with a combined tonnage at least 40% of the world fleet, and with a combined ship recycling capacity not less than 3% of their combined gross tonnage over the past ten years will have to ratify. Then the convention enters into force 24 months later.

The HONG KONG SRC 2009 covers design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships; the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner; and the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling, incorporating certification and reporting requirements.

Ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, which will be specific to each ship. An appendix to the Convention will provide a list of hazardous materials the installation or use of which is prohibited or restricted in shipyards, ship repair yards, and ships of Parties to the Convention. Ships will be required to have an initial survey to verify the inventory of hazardous materials, additional surveys during the life of the ship, and a final survey prior to recycling.

Ship recycling yards will be required to provide a "Ship Recycling Plan", to specify the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory. Parties will be required to take effective measures to ensure that ship recycling facilities under their jurisdiction comply with the Convention.

A series of guidelines are being developed to assist in the Convention's implementation.


ILO instruments

 The concerns for the people engaged in ship breaking activities have always been important to ILO. The organization has shown a long list of actions, and works together with other important partners for the best of the workers.

In 2004 ILO published “Safety and Health in Shipbreaking – Guidelines for Asian Countries and Turkey – 2004”. This is one of the three cornerstones of shipbreaking guidelines, together with the ones from IMO and BC.

ICS instrumentsThe maritime industry has also taken measures to ensure a safe and sound shipbreaking industry.

From the international Chamber of shipping ( the “Industry Code of Practice on Ship Recycling” was published (2001). The Code is a joint work from a number of organizations, namely:

  1. Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO)
  2. International Association of Dry Cargo Shipowners (INTERCARGO)
  3. International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO)
  4. International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)
  5. International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation (ITOPF)
  6. International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF)
  7. Oil Companies’ International Marine Forum (OCIMF)
  8. with active participation, as observers, also from
  9. European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA)
  10. International Association of Classification Societies (IACS)


EU green paper on shipbreaking

EU green paper on ship breaking

In November 2008 the EU Comission adopted a Communication on “An EU Strategy for better ship dismantling”. In addition to paying due respect to the new Hong Kong SRC 2009, this strategy shall ensure that ships under the flag of an EU nation or owned by a shipowner in a EU nation shall be recycled in a safe and sound manner, and not be towed to the beaches in Asia for dismantling.

U.S. environmental protection agency

In 2000 “A Guide for Ship Scrappers” was published from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Port state control, flag state control and classification societies

These topics are covered in detail in a specific chapter of this book. Therefore, details will not be mentioned under this heading.

The most important instruments for the regulation of this field are the so called Memorandum of understanding (MoU) for different parts of the world, like the Paris MoU, the Tokyo MoU, the Mediterranean MoU, Indian Ocean MoU and Riyadh MoU. In the future, MLC 2006 will add important qualities to the control, in that health certificates will be required for each ship.