business green – EU steering ships towards safer recycling

27 March 2013 - Levy on ships visiting EU ports could fund scrapping of vessels in EU-approved facilities worldwide

A levy should be imposed on all ships visiting EU ports to cover the costs of recycling ships safely, Brussels lawmakers have said.

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee voted yesterday in favour of the scheme, along with proposed fines for owners of EU ships who sell vessels to be scrapped on beaches in developing countries.

The draft regulation aims to reduce the adverse effects of careless scrapping, such as accidents, injuries or damage to human health and the environment, by ensuring that EU ships, and non-EU ships calling regularly at EU ports, are scrapped in EU-approved facilities worldwide.

The proposed levy – paid annually or per port call – would create a fund to make this economically viable.

Ships hailing from member states would also be required to have an inventory of hazardous materials on board or risk penalties, while non-EU ships would also have to produce a list should they dock at an EU port.

Carl Schlyter, the Swedish Green MEP who is behind the proposals, said in a statement the plan would “steer ships that trade with the EU into proper ship recycling facilities”.

“Today’s vote will hopefully put an end to EU ships being recklessly scrapped in developing countries,” he said. “Currently, most EU ships are sent to South-East Asia at the end of their lives, where they are beached and their hazardous materials harm human health and the environment.”

The full parliament will vote on whether the proposals should be included in the final legislation at a forthcoming plenary session.