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COP11 of Basel Convention report records weakness of IMO's Hong Kong Convention on disposal of end of life ships

Written By Gopal Krishna on Sunday, September 15, 2013 | 3:59 AM

Among other aspects the report of the eleventh ordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal deals with the issue of dismantling of ships and cooperation with IMO. The relevant text in this regard is reproduced here:

"Environmentally sound dismantling of ships
169. The representative of the Secretariat drew attention to document UNEP/CHW.11/16, on the
environmentally sound dismantling of ships, noting that parties were divided in their views as to
whether the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling
of Ships provided a level of control and enforcement equivalent to that provided under the Basel
Convention. At its tenth meeting, the Conference of the Parties had encouraged parties to ratify the
Hong Kong Convention to enable its early entry into force while acknowledging that the Basel
Convention should continue to assist countries to apply the Basel Convention as it related to ships. The
Conference had welcomed the development of implementation programmes relating to sustainable
ship recycling and requested the Secretariat, subject to the availability of funding, to continue its work
and to develop further the programmes for sustainable ship recycling in conjunction with other bodies.
The Secretariat had undertaken several capacity-building activities to promote sustainable ship
recycling and the representative of the Secretariat expressed appreciation to the European Union and
the Government of Norway for providing funding for those important activities.
170. A representative of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) then gave a presentation on
the adoption of the Hong Kong Convention and six related resolutions in May 2009. She described
various technical cooperation activities, most of which had been undertaken in partnership with the
Basel Convention and the International Labour Organization, as well as other projects, including
several aimed at encouraging countries to ratify the Hong Kong Convention and others aimed at the
implementation of interim measures pending the Convention’s entry into force.
171. In the ensuing discussion several representatives thanked IMO for its presentation, noted the
relationship between the two conventions and voiced appreciation for the capacity-building activities
being undertaken to assist countries in the safe dismantling of ships. Several said that their countries
intended to ratify the Hong Kong Convention and urged other countries to do the same.
172. Several representatives described national situations and activities regarding ship dismantling
and recycling, as well as efforts at the national level to manage and monitor the safe dismantling of
ships, including ships abandoned on coasts, ships sunk as a result of war and ships in transit to
recycling sites. Some representatives outlined challenges that their countries faced in their efforts to
ensure that dismantling was carried out in an environmentally sound manner that took into account
occupational health and safety concerns. Several representatives expressed appreciation to donor
countries and organizations that had assisted them in undertaking ship dismantling in a safe and
environmentally sound manner. One representative said that the requirements related to ship
dismantling under the Basel Convention were more robust than those under the Hong Kong
Convention and expressed regret that no awareness-raising programme or training programme on the
issue had as yet been undertaken in the Caribbean region.
173. The Conference of the Parties adopted the draft decision on the matter set out in document
UNEP/CHW.11/16, subject to confirmation from the contact group on synergies and budget matters
that there were sufficient funds in the budget to implement it or that it would have no budgetary
implications.
174. Decision BC-11/16, on the environmentally sound dismantling of ships, as adopted by the
Conference of the Parties, is set out in annex I to the present report.
3. Cooperation with the International Maritime Organization
175. The representative of the Secretariat, introducing the sub-item, drew attention to the relevant
documentation, including the revised legal analysis of the application of the Basel Convention to
hazardous and other wastes generated on board ships (UNEP/CHW.11/INF/22).
176. In the ensuing discussion, most representatives commended the Secretariat on the revised legal
analysis and supported its conclusions, with a number of representatives, including one speaking on
behalf of a group of countries, requesting that the conclusions be reflected in the draft decision set out
in document UNEP/CHW.11/17. One representative added that, while she supported the conclusions,
there was a need for further guidance on the matter. One representative said that further revision of the
analysis was required in order to close the loopholes and to provide a broader interpretation of the
Basel Convention to make it more effective, for instance by clarifying the responsibilities of flag
States with respect to the generation of waste on board ships on the high seas
177. Several representatives commended the work of the Maritime Safety Committee of the
International Maritime Organization (IMO) in amending Regulation VI/5.2 of the International
Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) to prohibit the blending of bulk liquid cargoes and
production processes during sea voyages. One representative, speaking on behalf of a group of
countries, said that the new regulation could not be relied upon to ensure the level of control necessary
to prevent disasters of the kind experienced in her region and that the Basel Convention must remain
the main international instrument for addressing transboundary movements of hazardous waste. She
called on the Secretariat to revisit the legal analysis to close existing loopholes.
178. The representative of IMO said that her organization shared most of the conclusions in the
Secretariat’s revised legal analysis and supported further cooperation with the Basel Convention in
order to clarify the relationship of the Convention with instruments adopted under the auspices of
IMO. She also reported that the IMO secretariat had not yet received any objection to the agreed
amendments to Regulation VI/5.2 of SOLAS. It was thus expected that the amendments would enter
into force and that the blending of bulk liquid cargoes and production processes on board ships would
be prohibited as of 1 January 2014; flag States would thereafter be responsible for ensuring that ships
under their flag complied with the new requirements.
179. Given the divergence in the views expressed, the President invited a small group of parties to
meet informally to discuss the matter further and determine a way forward.
180. Subsequently, a representative speaking on behalf of a group of countries reported that the
small group of parties had reached an agreement on the text of a revised version of the draft decision
set out in document UNEP/CHW.11/17.
181. The Conference of the Parties adopted the draft decision, as orally amended, subject to
confirmation from the contact group on synergies and budget matters that there were sufficient funds
in the budget to implement it or that it would have no budgetary implications.
182. Decision BC-11/17, on cooperation with the International Maritime Organization, as adopted
by the Conference of the Parties, is set out in annex I to the present report."



The meeting was held in coordination with the sixth ordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, the sixth ordinary meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the second simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the conferences of the parties to the three conventions. It was held at the Geneva International Conference Centre from 28 April to 10 May 2013

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