Environmentally sound management of priority waste streams: end-of-life ships

End-of-life ships comprise an array of hazardous materials – such as asbestos, PCBs and waste oils – which can have serious implications for the environment and human health if not managed properly.

Parties to the Basel Convention have recognised that ship recycling States and the facilities within their jurisdiction may require assistance in implementing the requirements of the international regime pertaining to ship recycling. The Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention has requested the Secretariat to develop further its programmes for sustainable ship recycling in conjunction with other bodies. The Secretariat has implemented various activities under the Global Programme for Sustainable Ship Recycling which was developed in 2007 to encourage collaboration between organizations in facilitating improvements in worker health and safety and environmental conditions in ship recycling countries.


The capacity-building activities undertaken by the Secretariat aim to promote:

  • The sustainability of the ship recycling industry by enhancing the application of internationally recognized standards relating to occupational safety and health (OSH) and environmental protection;
  • Effective implementation of the Basel Convention and the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

Upcoming activities

Developing downstream hazardous waste management capacity in Bangladesh and Pakistan


The Secretariat is currently collaborating with the Marine Environment Division of the IMO on a Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) funded project, which is intended to assist the Government of Bangladesh to achieve the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships in Bangladesh. The first phase of the project incorporates work on five packages covering (i) economic and environmental studies; (ii) planning for the management of hazardous materials and wastes; (iii) development of a government one-stop service; (iv) preparation of training modules on safety, health and environment; and (v) planning for the second phase of the project. The Secretariat is contributing both funding and expertise to the work package on planning for the management of hazardous materials and wastes through facilitating the development of inventories of hazardous wastes in Chittagong, where ship recycling currently takes place in Bangladesh. The development of such inventories will enable both public authorities and private sector bodies to plan for the development of hazardous waste management infrastructure in the region.


In parallel, the Secretariat is also supporting the development of inventories of hazardous wastes in the Gadani ship recycling region in Pakistan, in collaboration with the Cabinet Secretariat, Climate Change Division of the Government of Pakistan.

Both projects are being funded by the European Union under its thematic programme for Environment and sustainable management of Natural Resources, including energy (ENRTP) and will be finalized in May 2015.

Recent activities

Feasibility study to identify environmentally sound, cost-effective alternatives to beaching

A feasibility study was finalized in April 2013 to identify cost-effective, environmentally sound alternatives to the traditional beaching method of ship recycling.The report of the study includes models of alternative environmentally sound ship recycling operations; identification of potential parties/industry partners and sites for the establishment of such facilities; and a costing estimate for the establishment and operation of such facilities.

This project was funded through a grant received from the European Union.

Development of a case study elaborating models of compliant ship recycling facilities

A case study was developed through which: (i) models of compliant ship recycling facilities were elaborated in consideration of the requirements of the Basel Convention and the Hong Kong Convention for and their respective guidelines; and (ii) actions were identified to be undertaken in the short, medium and long term at ship recycling facilities employing the beaching method to facilitate compliance with the two conventions.

On the basis of the case study, two sets of supportive guidance and associated ‘train-the-trainer’ materials were developed for management and supervisors at ship recycling facilities and for the competent authority(ies) assuming the responsibility for regulating the industry.

This project was completed in July 2012 and was funded through a grant received from the European Union and funding from the Government of Norway.

Ship Recycling Technology & Knowledge Transfer Workshop

A Ship Recycling Technology & Knowledge Transfer Workshop was held in Izmir, Turkey, in July 2010.  The primary aim of the workshop was to strengthen the regulatory, institutional, procedural and infrastructural capacity of Pakistan’s Government and industry to fulfill the relevant aspects of the Basel Convention in relation to ship recycling, particularly those dealing with the downstream management of hazardous and other wastes, and the Hong Kong Convention.

Please click the following links for the agenda, list of participants and report of the workshop.