European Commission releases technical guidance for ship recycling facilities

13 April 2016 (Last Updated April 13th, 2016 18:30)

The European Commission (EC) has released technical guidance for ship recycling facilities, subject to approval by the European Union (EU) Ship Recycling Regulation.

The European Commission (EC) has released technical guidance for ship recycling facilities, subject to approval by the European Union (EU) Ship Recycling Regulation.

This step is said to replicate the petition of the environmental and human rights non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to shift ship recycling to a platform that can ensure sustainable practices.

The facilities that seek to feature in the EU-approved list will be required to fulfill safe working conditions, pollution control including proper downstream waste management, and enforcement of international labour rights.

“Recycling yards that want to make it on the EU list of approved facilities need to meet high environmental and safety standards.”

NGO Shipbreaking Platform policy director Ingvild Jenssen said: "Recycling yards that want to make it on the EU list of approved facilities need to meet high environmental and safety standards.

"The EC is clear in its message: an unprotected beach is never going to be an appropriate place for a high-risk heavy industry involving hazardous waste management."

The EU list of approved ship recycling facilities will serve as a global reference point for sustainable ship recycling, and will reward companies who already have or intend to invest in the infrastructure and the employment of fully trained workers promoting safe and environmentally sound recycling practices.

The list is anticipated to feature yards responsible shipping companies such as Hapag Lloyd, Wilhelmsen, Grieg and Royal Dutch Boskalis work with in Europe, China and Turkey after they comply with the requirements and in some cases also improving their practices in order to meet the European standard.

For ship owners, the EU list will serve as a guarantee that their end-of-life vessels do not pose any harm to workers and the environment.

The NGOs can submit complaints and concerns to the EC, supported by the ‘independent verifiers with qualifications’ and audits by the EC or agents acting on its behalf, regarding the functioning of a facility, and advise for an on-site visit to establish whether the facility should be removed from the list.

The establishment of good practices related to ship repair facilities has paved the way for the establishment of new facilities.