10 August 2016

Report: Stiffer Legislation Needed for EU Ship Recycling

Ships should not be allowed to call at any EU port without a ship recycling license, according to a report from the European Commission.

Regardless of the flag under which they sail, ships should not be allowed to call at any EU port without a ship recycling license, according to a report from the European Commission.

Written by Ecorys, classification society DNV-GL and the Erasmus University School of Law and published yesterday, the  report, ‘Financial instrument to facilitate safe and sound ship recycling’ looks into the possibility of introducing a financial incentive to enhance safe and environmentally sound ship recycling.

Under the proposals, ship recycling license fees would be earmarked to cover the cost-gap between substandard and sustainable end-of-life ship management.

The capital amount accumulated during the operational life of the vessel would be set aside for the ship and only paid back to the last owner of the vessel as a premium if the ship is recycled in a sustainable facility approved by the EU.

Following the publication of the report, Stephane Arditi, products & waste policy manager at the European Environmental Bureau called on the European Commission to follow-up this report with a legislative proposal.

“The effective implementation of European environmental policies has been dependent on making the ‘polluter pay’. If the EU is serious about its commitment to sustainable ship recycling, all ship owners trading in Europe need to be held financially liable,” commented

NGO, Shipbreaking Platform noted that the 2013 EU Ship Recycling Regulation requires all vessels sailing under an EU flag to use an approved ship recycling facility. A list of approved ship recycling facilities globally will be published by the end of 2016.

However, the organisation said that one major shortcoming of the Regulation, which is that shipowners can circumvent the law by simply flagging out to a non-EU flag. At end-of-life, cash-buyers act as intermediaries and sell the vessels to substandard yards in South Asia often using flags of convenience which are grey- or black-listed by European governments under the Paris Memorandum of Understanding.

The NGO added that last year, Bangladesh, where human rights abuses and pollution caused by shipbreaking activities are known to be the worst, was the preferred destination for end-of-life ships. EU owners account for around one third of the end-of-life tonnage beached in substandard yards in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

According to Shipbreaking Platform the EU is the single largest market sending end-of-life ships for dirty and dangerous shipbreaking and has a particular responsibility to regulate ship recycling.

The NGO said that while approximately 40% of the world fleet is controlled by owners based in the EU+EFTA, only 17% of the world fleet sails under an EU+EFTA flag.

The vast majority of EU-owned ships are said to be sailing under the flags of states such as Panama, Liberia and the Marshall Islands during operational life and the percentage of EU flags was claimed to drop to less than 8% at end-of-life.

“EU shipping companies should not circumvent EU environmental laws and not utilise practices that would never be allowed in Europe. EU flag-neutral measures which apply equally to all ships calling at EU ports are necessary to increase environmental protection” commented Sotiris Raptis, shipping and aviation officer at Transport and Environment.

The organisation added that European ports are not opposing the ‘ship recycling license’ and SeaEurope, Europe’s ship yard and maritime equipment association, was said to have expressed enthusiasm towards ensuring better implementation of the Ship Recycling Regulation, and to have called for support to enhance ship recycling capacity and R&D towards more cost effective solutions in Europe

“The upcoming EU list of approved ship recycling facilities will function as an important market differentiator for yards that have already invested in proper occupational health & safety and environmental standards,” said Jenssen, policy director at Shipbreaking Platform.

“The use of the EU listed facilities will however depend on the introduction of an effective financial incentive that forces irresponsible shipowners towards better practices” Jenssen concluded.
Source: waste-management-world. 7 July 2016

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