Having the largest shipping register in Europe and the seventh largest in the world one may have expected Malta to have a substantial ship scrapping problem. This seems to be far from the case as, according to specialists in the field, owners who specialise in this field do not pass the criteria of eligibility into the Maltese Shipping Register.
Ivan Sammut, Registrar General for Merchant Shipping and Seamen said that a ship may change registers several times in the course of its lifetime. This normally happens due to the needs of the owners such as, particular port requirements which may need a ship to change registration. Mr Sammut said that when the ship is nearing the end of its life, it is normally sold to owners who would want it for the value of the scrap metal. These owners so far do not meet the eligibility criteria for registration in Malta so Malta has not faced issues of scrapping so far. What the owners do with the ships after these de-registered from Malta is not the responsibility of Malta, said Mr Sammut.
This week, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Joe Mizzi tabled information in parliament regarding Malta’s position on ship recycling. The document said, among other things that the European Union needs to ensure that any legislation relating to the recycling of ships should not only be applicable to ships registered in EU countries but also to ships who berth in EU countries. The document said that Malta believes that the only plausible and effective instrument regulating and recycling of ships is the Hong Kong Convention and encouraged the EU to ratify this document.
Ship scrapping is a major environmental concern particularly in the Far East.
Source: 13 June 2013