HKC – positive news or business as usual?

Last week’s news that the Hongkong Convention on the Safe and Environmentally sound Recycling of Ships (HKC) will finally enter into force two years from now, has been met with excitement and hope from the shipping and ship recycling industry.

As frontrunner in responsible ship recycling, we at Sea2Cradle are slightly less optimistic about the impact of the HKC to transform the maritime recycling industry into a truly safe and sustainable sector, with due respect for people and our planet.

To have a real positive impact, standards set in the HKC need to be stricter. The bar needs to be raised in many areas, including full containment of hazardous materials during cleaning and dismantling, proper down stream waste management and independent verification of recycling facility compliance.

First step is to align the HKC standards with those set in the EU Ship Recycling Regulation. Not by settling for the lowest common denominator but by improving the HKC. Until this has been achieved, the EU SRR needs to remain in full force, despite the fact that it is a regional regulation with limited impact that is easily circumvented.

The HKC does not release shipowners from their duty of care, they still need to apply due diligence in selecting and contracting responsible ship recycling solutions. They also still need to comply with existing regulations for exporting (hazardous) waste.

Entry into force of the HKC will not raise the bar to where it needs to be, nor will it simplify the regulatory landscape. Sea2Cradle helps ship owners taking the right decisions about responsible recycling of their vessels, going beyond just legal compliance.

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