Ships, Ship-breaking, pollution, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan


Ship-breaking is one of the most dangerous occupations in the world and widely known as a pollution-heavy industry. This industry is currently concentrated primarily in three South Asian developing countries, namely Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Ensuring the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships remains a global concern. There are many international regulations which apply to the activities of ship-breaking, but none of them address the issue in a comprehensive manner. The most relevant international instrument governing ship recycling, the 2009 Hong Kong Convention remains unenforceable due to non-ratification by the chief ship recycling states. The only enforceable international instrument closely relevant to ship recycling activity is the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal adopted in 1989. However due to its exceedingly pro-environmental character, its applicability over End of Life ships remains uncertain. As a stop-gap measure, this article will attempt to explore other currently enforceable international laws that can potentially be utilized to govern the industry in the face of uncertainty with these two mainstream legal instruments. This article postulates that a prompt solution to this controversial global activity is unlikely to occur anytime soon.