23 October 2012

EU ship recycling proposal dubbed ‘illegal’

Europe: In Europe, the recently-introduced Commission Proposal on ship recycling includes serious ‘loopholes and legal contradictions’, NGO Shipbreaking Platform Executive Director Patrizia Heidegger has warned EU member states in an open letter. Her main concern is that, once enforced, this would ‘unilaterally remove’ end-of-life ships from the EU’s implementation of the Basel Convention.

The Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling is slated to be discussed during the environment ministers’ upcoming meeting on October 25. Mrs Heidegger hopes that bringing the regulatory breach to light will prevent ‘the illegal exercise of removing ships from Basel application’, hailing the latter as a ‘rightfully ratified’ convention on hazardous waste shipments.

In the open letter, the NGO Executive Director states: ‘Ever since its adoption in 1989, the EU has been a champion of the Basel Convention. Since 1994, the EU has been a champion of the Basel ban on the export of hazardous waste to developing countries.’ Noting that it was the EU that had ‘pushed the decision’ asserting that a ship could be a ship and a waste at the same time, Mrs Heidegger adds: ‘This proposal is not legally possible. It does not yet appear that the Commission understands the gravity of this illegal act.’

According to the NGO, the Commission is ‘conveniently ignoring’ the massive and sufficient capacity for green recycling in Europe, Mexico, Turkey, Canada and the USA. ‘Secondly, both regimes can operate simultaneously and will have to do so in any event, due to the fact that Hong Kong does not, for example, cover government-owned ships,’ Mrs Heidegger writes.

The ‘known loopholes’ wherein ship-owners can circumvent Basel rules can be closed ‘with further effort’, says the NGO. Therefore, European Commission decision-makers are urged not to support the proposal in its present form, but rather to ‘ensure that it is amended to remain in conformity with the binding legal provisions’ of the Basel Convention.

To read the entire open letter, visit:  www.bit.ly/VJ6GC4

Source: recycling international. 22 October 2012

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