Regulation of international ship demolition

On June 9 2017 the Ministry of Labour published Ordinance 790, amending Regulatory Standard 34 on Working and Environmental Conditions in the Shipbuilding and Ship Repair Industry. The amendments also regulate ship demolition activities. According to the Ministry of Labour, this is because the Brazilian fleet is aging and thus the demand for ship demolition activities may increase.


As of the amendments coming into force, those performing ship demolition activities must:

  • develop and implement a training programme, including periodic admission training whenever situations specified in the standard occur;
  • follow specific procedures and document their activities (eg, the issuance of work permits where necessary);
  • follow safety procedures for working in hot conditions (eg, previous inspections and the adoption of fire-fighting and prevention methods)
  • follow safety procedures regarding:
    • working at heights;
    • any work that may expose workers to ionising radiations; and
    • blasting, water blasting and painting works;
  • ensure hygiene and workers' protection measures are in place;
  • develop procedures for handling heavy cargo;
  • establish procedures for using scaffoldings; and
  • use personal protective equipment.

Regulation of international ship demolition

In the international sphere, ship demolition activities (ships recycling or ship scrapping) are regulated by the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships 2009, which is not yet in force in Brazil. The convention regulates the construction, operation and preparation of ships for dismantling in order to facilitate the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships.

The convention contains several provisions relating to the safety and training of workers, including:

  • measures to prevent explosions, fire and other unsafe conditions;
  • measures to prevent damages caused by hazardous atmospheres and other conditions;
  • safety procedures for entering into ship compartments and spaces, including closed and confined spaces;
  • measures to prevent, during the entire recycling of the ships, spillages or emissions that cause harm to human health;
  • requirements regarding the use of personal protective equipment; and
  • requirements regarding training programmes to ensure that workers can safely perform all designated ships recycling works.

The convention will enter into force 24 months after the date on which the 15 states representing 40% of Brazil's fleet, per tonnage, approve it. At the moment, only six states have approved the convention.

For further information on this topic please contact Godofredo Mendes Vianna at Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados by telephone (+55 21 2276 6200) or email ([email protected]). The Kincaid | Mendes Vianna Advogados website can be accessed at