Objectives of Hong Kong Convention (Article 1)

“Prevent, reduce, minimize and, to the extent practicable, eliminate accidents, injuries and other adverse effects on human health and the environment caused by Ship Recycling, and enhance ship safety, protection of human health and the environment throughout a ship’s operating life” (Art. 1)

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.


The HKC covers the design, construction, survey, certification, operation and recycling of ships to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling and covers also Ship recycling facilities (SRF).


The Hong Kong International Convention for The Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 (HKC) was adopted in 2009, and will enter into force on 26 June 2025. Compliance with the Convention is currently voluntary, depending on the decision of the shipowner or in cases when the Convention has been unilaterally enforced by particular Administration irrespective of above.

One of the key requirements of the HKC will be for ships over 500 GT, operating in international waters, to maintain an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM). The IHM shall be verified either by the Administration or by any person or organisation authorised by it.

Only warships, naval auxiliary and governmental non-commercial vessels are exempted from the requirements of the HKC.

Inventory of Hazardous Material (IHM)

The development of the Inventory (IHM) will be a significant task for shipowners of both existing ships and new buildings.

The IHM has three parts:

  • Part I : hazardous materials inherent in the ship’s structure and fitted equipment;
  • Part II : operationally generated wastes;
  • Part III : stores.
  • Part I of the Inventory (IHM) is to be developed at the delivery of the ship, and Part II & III are to be completed immediately prior to recycling.

Ship Recycling Facility

The Inventory of Hazardous Materials is developed in order to provide information on hazardous materials actually present on ships so as to facilitate the use of information by Ship Recycling Facility during recycling and to decide how to manage the hazardous materials in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

In accordance with the convention, the ship recycling will be executed in line with the inventory, with considerations towards the safety/health of laborers and prevention of environmental pollution.

Furthermore, ships shall only be recycled at ship recycling facilities authorized by the competent authority. Ship recycling yards will be required to provide a "Ship Recycling Plan", specifying the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory.

What are the requirements for the convention to enter into force?

The Convention will enter into force 24 months after;

  • Ratification by not less than 15 States
  • The combined merchant fleets of the ratifying States constitute not less than 40% of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant fleet
  • The combined maximum annual ship recycling volume of the ratifying States during the preceding 10 years constitutes not less than 3% of the gross tonnage of the States.

The IMO Hong Kong Convention (HKC)

Click here to view/download the Convention in pdf.