Recycling of Ships Act 2019

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Context: The Parliament has approved the enactment of Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 and accession to the Hong Kong International Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009.

Prelims: Current events of national and international importance
Mains: GS III-Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.

 Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019:

Key features of the bill:

  • It restricts and prohibits the use or installation of hazardous material, which applies irrespective of whether a ship is meant for recycling or not.
  • For new ships, such restriction or prohibition on the use of hazardous material will be immediate, that is, from the date the legislation comes into force, while existing ships shall have a period of five years for compliance.
  • Restriction or prohibition on the use of hazardous material would not be applied to warships and non-commercial ships operated by Government.
  • Ships shall be surveyed and certified on the inventory of hazardous material used in ships.
  • Under the Bill, ship recycling facilities are required to be authorized and ships shall be recycled only in such authorized ship recycling facilities.
  • It also provides that ships shall be recycled in accordance with a ship-specific recycling plan.
  • Ships to be recycled in India shall be required to obtain a Ready for Recycling Certificate in accordance with the HKC- Hong Kong International Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships.

 What is the Hong Kong convention?

    • Adopted in 2009.
    • Adopted by International Maritime Organization (IMO).
    • The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 (the Hong Kong Convention), was adopted at a diplomatic conference held in Hong Kong, China in 2009.


  • The Convention is aimed at ensuring that ships when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and to the environment.
  • It also addresses concerns raised about the working and environmental conditions at many of the world’s ship recycling locations.
  • The Convention is yet to come into force because it has not been ratified by 15 nations, representing 40 percent of the world merchant shipping by gross tonnage (capacity) and a maximum annual ship recycling volume of not less than 3 percent of the combined tonnage of the countries.


  • The Bill, when enacted by the Parliament, requires ship recycling facilities to obtain authorisation to operate and only authorised yards will be permitted to import ships for recycling.
  • Ship-specific Ship Recycling Plans (SRPs) will need to be prepared for incoming vessels and incoming ships will need to obtain a “Ready for Recycling Certificate” in accordance with the HKC.
  • When India accedes to the IMO’s treaty, after the approval by the Parliament, it will become the 14th contracting state to ratify the Convention.


Bangladesh: World Graveyard for ships.

Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard is located in Bangladesh along the 18 kilometers (11 mi) Sitakunda coastal strip, Handling about a fifth of the world's total, it is the world's largest ship breaking yard.

At one stage the industry was a tourist attraction, but outsiders are no longer welcome due to its poor safety record, a local watchdog group claims that one worker dies a week on average. Workers have neither protective equipment nor financial security. In 2014, shipping company Hapag-Lloyd followed an earlier decision by Maersk to stop using the yard for breaking its old ships, despite the higher costs elsewhere.


The Key Benefits of the bill are as follows:

  • The bill will harbinger a significantly increased number of global ships entering into Indian Shipyards for Recycling.
  • Recycling of Ships will boost business & employment opportunities and strengthen India’s position in the recycling industry.
  • It will raise the brand value of our Ships Recycling Yards located at Alang in Gujarat, Mumbai Port, Kolkata Port & Azhikkal in Kerela.
  • 10% of the country’s Secondary steel needs, as an outcome of Recycling of Ships, will be met in an eco-friendly manner.
  • Ships Recycling facilities will become compliant to International standards and Ships will be recycled only in such authorised facilities.
  • The tremendous growth of business activities will contribute to the country’s GDP.

Need for legislation:

  • India is the leader in the global ship recycling industry, with a share of over 30% of the market.
  • As per UNCTAD report on Review of Maritime Transport, 2018, India had demolished 6323 tonnes in 2017, of known ship scrapping across the world.
  • The ship-recycling industry is a labor-intensive sector, but it is susceptible to concerns on environmental safety. 

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