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In with the old? The calls for scrapping the ship-scrapping convention

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 is set to enter into force in June 2025 and deals with the responsible dismantling of shipping vessels. The Convention’s low standards at the time of drafting in 2009 were the result of states’ unwillingness to seriously address planetary and human concerns. The ship recycling industry is still plagued with some of the gravest forms of labour abuse and environmental pollution. Nonetheless, what is needed is not another treaty vis-à-vis states, but instead, stricter company compliance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs). Shifting focus to corporate responsibility would give room to push for a cradle-to-grave approach, rather than regressing to sub-par standards drafted over a decade ago that will lower the benchmark for all. The industry at a glance Shipping vessels have a lifespan of 20-25 years, and their end-of-life value is determined by the amount of steel it is made of. Thus, shipbreaking deals neatly with…

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