Brussels -- On Thursday 5 December, just five days before the new EU Ship Recycling Regulation was published, ship recyclers from Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Lithuania, Spain and Sweden participated to the first green ship recycling conference organised by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform to discuss the future of their industry.
The Regulation, published on 10 December, is set to enter into force on 30 December and will be fully applicable some time between 2015 and 2019. Especially, implications of the new EU Ship Recycling Regulation were discussed, including the opportunities that would be provided by a financial incentive pushing ship owners towards clean and safe ship recycling facilities, and to what extent Guidance Notes on the new requirements for ship recycling facilities is needed.
A further incentive to flag out
During the meeting, the ship recyclers and the Platform met with a representative of the European Commission and expressed their disappointment with the new Regulation which only covers the clean and safe recycling of EU-flagged ships. Most end-of-life vessels are registered under non-EU flags and it is expected that the new Regulation will provide a further incentive to flag out.
“European ship recyclers exist and are willing to take in a much larger share of the global end-of-life fleet,” said Ingvild Jenssen, policy advisor of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “For years the shipping industry and European Commission have been repeating that there is not enough clean and safe ship recycling capacity in Europe, and that ship owners have no choice but to sell their end-of-life vessels to dangerous beach-breaking yards in South Asia. We demonstrated with this meeting that this is only because there has been no political will to recognise and support the industry in Europe.”
No competition without EU support
Facilities around the world that satisfy a list of requirements outlined by the new Regulation will be approved and listed by the European Commission. EU flagged end-of-life ships will only be allowed to use these facilities. European ship recyclers will have to compete with facilities worldwide, and without EU support, they fear they will be unable to do so. Without a financial incentive to encourage ship owners to opt for better ship recycling in the EU, European ship recyclers expressed that they would not be able to attract more business.
“We have been calling on the EU to come up with a financial incentive to support green and safe ship recycling for years,” said Ingvild Jenssen. “Without such a mechanism, ship owners will find ways to circumvent the Regulation and continue to send their ships to substandard yards where workers’ lives are put at risk and the environment is severely polluted.”
Source: recycling portal.