IMO promotes safe, sustainable ship recycling in Bangladesh

13 May 2024

A series of workshops held in Dhaka and Chattogram in Bangladesh has equipped up to 300 key stakeholders with essential knowledge about how to recycle ships in a safe and environmentally-sound manner.

Four workshops were held over two weeks (in Dhaka on 24-25 April and 8-9 May; in Chattogram on 28-29 April and 5-6 May), targeting shipyard managers, national and local government officials and other stakeholders.

The training sessions were organised under IMO's SENSREC project, funded by the Norwegian Embassy in Dhaka and implemented by IMO and Bangladesh's Ministry of Industries. The project aims to boost national capacities for sustainable ship recycling, while supporting the country's progress towards implementation of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The Hong Kong Convention establishes global standards for the recycling of ships.

The workshop series allowed participants to share experiences, best practices and strategies for implementing the Hong Kong Convention, as well as managing hazardous waste from the ship recycling industry.

Hazardous waste management is a critical issue for Bangladesh, where the ship recycling industry has historically struggled with the improper handling and disposal of toxic substances, leading to significant environmental and health impacts. Over the past few years, substantial progress has been achieved by a few ship recycling facilities in Chattogram, raising the bar for environmental standards and practices for the rest of the industry.

The main workshop was opened by Mrs. Zakia Sultana, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Industries of Bangladesh and Mr. Espen Ritker-Svendsen, Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh. Sessions were delivered by national experts and development agencies. The International Labour Organization (ILO) led discussions on operational safety and health, while the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and German Development Cooperation (GIZ) shared information about future planning for building a facility for treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste in Chattogram, as well as updated national regulations on hazardous waste management and disposal.

SENSREC was launched in 2015 and is currently in its third phase. SENSREC Phase III focuses on improving ship recycling standards in compliance with the Hong Kong Convention and enhancing capacity building for the Government of Bangladesh in legislation and knowledge management. Specific assistance is also provided for the establishment of a facility for treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste.

The Hong Kong Convention will enter into force on 26 June 2025.

Image by IMO.

IMO press release