Denmark is taking the first steps towards rules on scrapping ships as the country prepares new regulations to accede to the Hong Kong Convention, which ensures that ships are scrapped and recycled appropriately, according to the country’s minister Esben Lunde Larsen.
“Scrap ships must not pollute Third World beaches. Ships are often hazardous waste and they must be broken up under appropriate conditions so that they do not pose a danger to human health and safety or the environment,” Larsen said.
He added that adapting Danish regulations so that the country can accede to the Hong Kong Convention is expected to help set global standards to ensure ships are broken up safely.
“This will send a strong signal to other countries, and the more countries that accede to the Convention, the quicker we can get it to enter into force,” Larsen noted.
The new regulations have been sent for consultation, and Denmark expects to be able to accede to the convention in spring 2017.
According to the Danish Shipowners’ Association, an average of ten Danish-operated ships are sent to scrap every year. Only a small part of these is broken up in Denmark, the rest are broken up at shipyards in primarily India, China and Turkey.
The Hong Kong Convention was adopted by the UN International Maritime Organisation in 2009. Parts of the Convention have already been adopted by the EU in the Ship Recycling Regulation.
“Up to 70% of the world’s scrap ships are broken up in Third World countries, so global regulations are vital to ensure that ships are broken up appropriately. Therefore, we must urge more countries to follow in Denmark’s footsteps so that the Convention can finally enter into force. Until this happens, we’re encouraging all our shipping companies to comply with the upcoming requirements voluntarily,” Anne H. Steffensen, Director General of the Danish Shipowners’ Association, said.