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Ship and Rig Recycling

We provide specialist advice on the sale and movement of vessels and offshore units including drilling rigs and FPSOs for demolition and recycling, activities that are heavily regulated and complex.

Our experienced team has detailed knowledge of the relevant international rules and regulations, including the Basel Convention, the European Waste Shipment Regulation and the European Ship Recycling Regulation.

These international rules and regulations have serious implications that any party involved in sales and movements of vessels and offshore units for recycling need to consider extremely carefully. Compliance is critically important as a breach of these rules and regulations can lead to criminal prosecution, civil claims and reputational damage. Our team has the necessary experience and expertise to assist our clients in complying with their social and environmental responsibilities.

We are the world's leading practice on the application of the Basel Convention regime to the demolition and recycling of offshore drilling units and FPSOs. 

We assist sellers and buyers in negotiating sale agreements and navigating regulatory processes, including dealing with regulators in a wide range of jurisdictions in Europe, Asia, North, Central and South America, Africa and the Middle East. Our familiarity with the Basel regime and local requirements across the world is second-to-none.

We offer

  • General advice regarding shipments of waste
  • Specific advice regarding NORM (naturally occurring radioactive materials) on FPSOs and other offshore assets
  • Local due diligence
  • Drafting and negotiation of agreements for sale and recycling
  • Drafting and negotiation of supervision agreements
  • Management of applications to regulators in jurisdictions of export, transit and import
  • Liaison with regulators
  • Drafting and negotiation of bank and corporate guarantees to regulators
  • Drafting and negotiation of bi- and tri-partite towage contracts
  • Assistance in disputes under agreements for sale and recycling
  • Assistance in connection with investigations/prosecutions of alleged breaches of applicable legislation and related civil claims

Frequently asked questions on ship and rig recycling

International conventions and local regulations combine to create a complex regime, which is often overlooked. The sale of a ship or rig to an intermediate buyer, who then sells the asset on to a shipbreaking facility, will not necessarily insulate the original owner from future liability or reputational damage.

Against this background owners and other parties involved in transboundary movements of marine assets for recycling may find the following comments helpful.

Read our articles on Ship and Rig Recycling


The Hong Kong Convention finally set to enter into force – a gamechanger?

With the recent accessions by Liberia and Bangladesh, the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling, which was adopted in 2009, will finally enter into force on 26 June 2025. On 30 November 2023 there was a further breakthrough by Pakistan’s accession, which means that all major recycling states have now committed to the Convention. What will be the practical implications? How will the Convention mesh with the existing regulations?


“Harrier” – the first beaching case heard by Norwegian courts ends with a six month prison sentence for the shipowner

In a recent decision, the Norwegian Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a Norwegian shipowner over the Court of Appeal’s decision, which upheld the District Court’s conviction and sentencing of the shipowner to six months in prison for participating in an attempt to illegally export the barge carrier “Harrier” from Norway for demolition at Gadani, Pakistan.


Women in law series: Ina Lutchmiah

In celebration of the International Women's Day on March 8th we’ve asked some of our female lawyers from across our international offices what it’s like being a woman in law today. Read our fourth interview – this time with Ina Lutchmiah.

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