ENDS Daily – MEP suggests incentive for good ship recycling

16 November 2012 - The EU should provide an incentive of at least €30 per tonne for ships to be broken up in approved, environmentally sound facilities, European Parliament rapporteur Carl Schlyter has recommended in a draft legislative resolution.

This financial support mechanism would be financed through a levy on all ships calling at EU ports, with lower rates for ferries and other vessels making frequent stops, according to the draft text, which will be discussed by members of the parliament’s environment committee later on this month.

The Swedish MEP’s proposed recycling fund is a new addition to the European Commission’s draft regulation on ship recycling. The idea was backed by Poland in ministerial discussions last month. Greenpeace and the NGO Shipbreaking Platform have also shown support for such a financial incentive.

Funds would be available to ships that have flown an EU member state’s flag for at least two years before a recycling plan receives regulatory approval.

But International Chamber of Shipping’s environment adviser John Stawpert criticised the proposal, saying that asking ships calling at EU ports to pay a fee would be unfair. Chinese or Indian-flagged vessels would refuse to pay the fee, he warned.

Mr Stawpert is also concerned that the recycling incentive would be an anti-competitive inducement for ships to switch to an EU flag.

The parliament rapporteur believes the fee would raise about €120m a year.

Assuming that 1.6m tonnes of EU-flagged ships are recycled each year, ships being broken up at an EU approved facility would actually get a lot more than €30 per tonne.

The proposal is intended to eliminate the “perverse incentive for ship owners to go to the sites with the lowest standards,” says Mr Schlyter. He would explicitly ban vessels registered in the EU from being beached – the cheapest, commonest and most environmentally damaging form of ship recycling.

The MEP agrees with the commission’s proposal that EU approved facilities could be anywhere in the world. NGOs see this as a breach of the Basel Convention.

Mr Schlyter also wants to strengthen a requirement to have hazardous substance inventories onboard EU ships, saying this should apply to all ships calling at EU ports.