Rotterdam-based Stolt Tankers, chemical parcel tankers operator, calls for an end to the current regulatory confusion and a move to a single, global standard for safe and sustainable ship recycling.

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKC) will come into full force on 26 June, 2025 after it was ratified by Bangladesh and Liberia, and Maren Schroeder, Managing Director of Stolt Tankers, considers whether this will end or at least remove some of the current confusion.

“Having three overlapping, complex regulations in place only creates confusion and requires a lot of time and resources to monitor the different levels of compliance.”

Stolt Tanker´s Managing Director explains that the EU introduced its own framework in 2013, the EU Ship Recycling Regulation (EU SRR).

Furthermore, there has been the Basel Convention and the Basel Ban Amendment, which are UN directives, applicable to all ships operating in OECD territories.

“It’s not surprising that it is often unclear which of the many overlapping regulations apply. In addition to this, some countries don’t have a framework in place for managing compliance with the administrative requirements of the Basel Convention and Ban Amendment, making it difficult to adhere to the regulations from a practical perspective.”

Maren Schroeder, Managing Director of Stolt Tankers highlights the fact that when it introduced the EU SRR, the EU promised to abolish it once the HKC came into force. Today, delivering on this promise seems uncertain, as she says, and there is even talk of the potential to expand the reach of the EU regulations which is a shame.

She also clarifies that insisting that only European and US yards have the capability to recycle correctly, is a narrow view of the recycling industry, and not at all in keeping with the global nature of shipping.

In order to deal with the local regulations of 190 countries does not make any sense, Schroeder adds.

Since the international convention HKC has been ratified and will become fully enforceable in 2025, it is time to move to a single, global standard for safe and sustainable ship recycling. 

“To establish a clear path and consistent compliance-management framework for all operators, the EU SRR, and the applicability of the Basel Convention and Basel Ban Amendment for shipping should be phased out to make way for one clear and concise standard.”