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newssection30 Mar 2012
EU adopts proposal to regulate ship recycling
The European Commission bans European ships from going to ship-breaking facilities that are not environmentally sound
The European Commission has adopted a proposal for improving the regulation of ship recycling.
Following concern about the environmentally unsound and unsafe practices employed around the world for dismantiling ships, the commission has acted to restrict the dumping of EU registered vessels in unregulated ship breakers in Africa and Asia.
The EU had previously classified EU-flagged ships going for dismantling as hazardous waste, under the Waste Shipment Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006), since they contain hazardous substances. As such, they can only therefore be legally dismantled within countries that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
European ship owners had however been ignoring this regulation and around 90% of EU flagged ships were being dismantled outside of the OECD.
Worldwide, around 1000 large end-of-life ships are broken up and recycled every year, as their steel, other scrap metal and equipment constitute valuable raw materials. Most of this ship dismantling nowadays takes place in South Asia, often on tidal beaches and under primitive conditions. While the industry provides thousands of jobs for migrant workers, a lack of environmental protection and safety measures leads to high accident rates, health risks and extensive pollution of coastal areas. Older ships contain many hazardous materials, including asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), tributyl tin and large quantities of oils and oil sludge.
Under the new Ship Recycling Regulation, European ships will have to draw up an inventory of the hazardous materials present on board, and apply for an inventory certificate. The amount of hazardous waste on board (including in cargo residues, fuel oil, etc.) must be reduced before the ship is delivered to a recycling facility.
Ship recycling facilities will have to meet a set of environmental and safety requirements in order to be included on a list of authorised facilities, which can be situated world wide. European ships will be allowed to be recycled only in facilities on that list. This will ensure better traceability for European ships, and will guarantee that the waste resulting from dismantling (and any hazardous materials it contains) is managed in an environmentally sound way.
Ships flying the flag of an EU Member State will have to minimise the amount of hazardous waste present on board (which can also be present in cargo residues, fuel oil, etc.) prior to delivery to a ship recycling facility.
Ship owners must inform EU Member States, in writing and in due time, of their intention to send a ship for recycling. They must include a plan for the recycling process and provide information about the completion of recycling.
Due to the lack of recycling facilities within the EU and OECD, recycling facilities outside of the EU will be able to apply for addition to the list of approved recycling facilities if they can prove that they meet the requirements for safety and environmental protection.
This article was published at 18:05 Fri 30 March 2012.