– by Anne Bouyssou
International rules and standards to prevent and control marine pollution have long focused on the environmental impacts of ships in their operational phase. With the adoption of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009, maritime regulators’ attention shifted from the sole operational phase to other parts of ships’ life cycle, i.e. design, building, breaking and recycling.
The maritime community then realized that the environmental impacts of a ship are largely determined during its early stages. The Hong Kong Convention includes specific provisions to avoid or minimize the quantities of hazardous materials that are found in the ship’s structure in order to address, reduce and eradicate the environmental risks throughout the ship’s lifecycle. It means that the ship’s recycling must be considered even before the ship is being built.
Pictures: South Korean shipyards (Anne Bouyssou, 2011)