TRANSFORMING SHIPBREAKING: HKC'S IMPACT

Shipbreaking, one of the most dangerous occupations globally, has been the focal point of a worldwide campaign aimed at improving worker safety and conditions. This effort has led to the ratification of the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) for safe ship recycling, set to take effect on June 26, 2025.

The HKC ratification requires shipyard owners to ensure all workers receive proper health and safety training, addressing issues such as unregistered migrant workers falling ill without adequate compensation.

The HKC also seeks to reduce occupational illnesses among workers by mandating safety training on various hazardous materials, establishing management and accountability structures, maintenance of records, and the provisions of facilities like health, sanitation, medical monitoring, and emergency response plans.

The effectiveness of the HKC hinges on domestic legislation driving implementation, in which ship recycling countries develop national laws. Currently, the International Maritime Organization is collaborating with the government of Bangladesh to develop appropriate laws and enforcement mechanisms. India has completed this process and similar work is planned in Pakistan.

Achieving broader industry transformation and worker involvement entails union recognition, fostering social dialogue among unions, employers, and governments, and striving to transform the industry into a safer and environmentally sustainable one.

Source: IndustriALL, 28 February

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