April 03. 2024

IMO Discusses Inconsistencies Identified by BIMCO between Hong Kong and Basel Conventions

The 81st meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (“MEPC”) of the International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) was held from March 18 to 22. Among the issues discussed were some legal inconsistencies between the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (“Hong Kong Convention”) and the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (“Basel Convention”), which were identified by the Baltic and International Maritime Council (“BIMCO”) and certain signatory countries.

BIMCO's concerns about possible inconsistencies—which were supported by Bangladesh, India, Norway, Pakistan and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)—relate to the classification of hulls of former ships as waste under the Basel Convention and, depending on the flag of the ship, may also be subject to the Hong Kong Convention. In this regard, the conventions have different approaches, criteria, and applicability for different countries, which can make compliance with both challenging (detailed in our previous Legal Update).

In light of the possible overlap of requirements between the Hong Kong Convention and the Basel Convention, the MEPC requested the Secretariat to continue strengthening cooperation with the Basel Convention Secretariat, in order to provide any information and assistance to ensure that the implementation of the Hong Kong Convention is robust.

In addition, MEPC invited interested Member States to (i) bring to the relevant meetings under the Basel Convention the issues related to the possible inconsistencies between the conventions; and (ii) present further proposals on this subject at the 82nd MEPC meeting.

Finally, MEPC requested that the IMO Secretariat develop draft guidance on this issue, in consultation with the Basel Convention Secretariat.

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