Shipping

India gets global recognition for nod to ship recycling convention

Representational Photo: Ship-recycling in progress at a location in South Asia.

New Delhi: India has been recognized and appreciated by the international maritime body for its decision on accession to the international convention on recycling of ships with all global environment safety standards. The convention does not cover warships.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO), at its ongoing 31st session in London, United Kingdom, “highly appreciated” India’s decision of accession to the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009.

The Hong Kong Convention is aimed at ensuring that ships being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and the environment.

The compliments of the Secretary General of the IMO were officially conveyed to High Commission of India at London, an Indian Ministry of Shipping statement said here today.

“The Hong Kong Convention 2009 is not yet in force, but, with India’s accession, the first of the three conditions for the Convention’s entry into force has now been fulfilled,” the statement said.

File Photo: Indian Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya.

Acknowledging the IMO’s appreciation, Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya said: “an appreciation from the IMO is a testimony of India’s commitment to the global standards of ship recycling. We are committed to the global best practices and aspire to become a role model in ship recycling industry.”

Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had approved India’s accession to the IMO’s Hong Kong Convention, which will help in providing boost to the ship-recycling industry in India.

Indian Law on Ships Recycling

Interestingly, the Government of India has on Nov. 25 introduced the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 through the Ministry for Shipping. The Bill, proposed by Mansukh Mandaviya, restricts the use of hazardous material on ships and regulates the recycling of ships.

Key features of this piece of proposed legislation, as provided on PRS Legislative Research website, are:

Applicability: The Bill will apply to: (i) any new or existing ship which is registered in India, (ii) ships entering a port or terminal in India, or the territorial waters of India, (iii) any warship, or other ship owned and operated by an administration and used on government non-commercial service, and (iv) ship recycling facilities operating in India.

Ship Recycling: The Bill defines ship recycling as the dismantling of a ship at a facility to recover the components and materials for reuse, and taking care of the hazardous material so produced. It includes associated operations such as storage and treatment of materials and components on site.

Requirements: Ships should not use prohibited hazardous materials as notified. The central government may exempt certain categories of ships from this requirement. The National Authority will carry out periodic surveys to verify the prescribed requirements. This Authority will be notified by the central government to administer, supervise and monitor all activities related to ship recycling.

The owner of every new ship must make an application to the National Authority to obtain a certificate on the inventory of hazardous materials. Existing ship owners must apply for the certificate within five years of the commencement of the Act. The certificate must be renewed every five years. It must be maintained and updated through the life of the ship to reflect any changes in the ship’s structure and equipment. The certificate may be suspended for various reasons such as the ship not complying with the particulars of the certificate, or not maintaining the inventory of hazardous materials properly. Using hazardous materials in a ship will be punishable with imprisonment of up to three months, or a fine of up to five lakh rupees, or both.

These requirements will not apply to: (i) any warship, or other ship owned and operated by an administration and used on government non-commercial service, and (ii) ships with internal volume less than 500 tonne.

Recycling Facilities: Ships will be recycled only in authorised recycling facilities. An application to authorise such a facility must be submitted to the Competent Authority (which will be notified by the central government) along with a ship recycling facility management plan, and prescribed fee. Existing facilities must apply for authorisation within 60 days of the commencement of the Act. A facility will be authorised when the Competent Authority is satisfied that it follows the specified standards. The certificate of authorisation will be valid for a period as specified but not exceeding five years. Contravening these provisions will be punishable with imprisonment of up to one year, or a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh, or both.

Each Ship Recycler must maintain adequate measures for emergency preparedness and response, safety, health, training, and welfare of workers as per the Factories Act, 1948. It must also provide insurance coverage for the regular and temporary workers.

Recycling Process: A ship owner must apply to the National Authority for a ready for recycling certificate before recycling his ship. The Ship Recycler must prepare a ship recycling plan which should be approved by the Competent Authority. Each ship will be recycled after obtaining written permission from the Competent Authority. The Authority must grant such permission after physically inspecting the ship.

Every ship recycler must: (i) ensure safe and environmentally sound removal and management of hazardous materials from a ship, and (ii) comply with the specified environmental regulations. They must also ensure that no environmental damage is caused due to such recycling. On contravening these provisions, the ship recycler will be liable to pay environmental damages and cleanup operation compensation as prescribed. In case of an oil spill, a ship recycler will be punishable with: (i) a fine of up to five lakh rupees in case of no response within 12 hours of issue of the first notice, (ii) a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh in case of no response within 24 hours of issue of the second notice, and (iii) imprisonment of up to three months, and a fine of up to Rs 10 lakh in case of no response within 24 hours of issue of the third notice.

Appeals: Decisions of the Competent Authority may be appealed with the National Authority within 30 days of receiving the decision. Decisions of the National Authority may be appealed with the central government within 30 days of receiving the decision.

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