Norway has become the first contracting State to the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKIC), the IMO has reported.

The first signatory may set the ball rolling for what has been a very slow starting convention. There have been no signatories at all until now, despite the HKIC drawn up four years ago in 2009.

The delay has even prompted the EU to intercede with suggestions of its own rules, which has complicated matters at classification level, with Lloyds specialists saying hazardous material threshold levels are contested between the EU and the HKIC.

The HKIC is aimed at ensuring that ships do not pose risk to human health, safety or to the environment when recycled at the end of their lives.

The Hong Kong treaty would enter into force 24 months after ratification by no less than 15 States, representing 40 per cent of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, with a combined maximum annual ship recycling volume not less than 3 per cent of their combined tonnage.

Kristin Stockman hands over Norway’s instrument of accession to the recycling convention to Gaetano Librando, head of legal affairs at the IMO

First Secretary, Kristin Stockman, of the Royal Norwegian Embassy to the United Kingdom, deposited Norway’s instrument of accession at IMO headquarters on 26 June.