The NGO Shipbreaking Platform secretariat and the Platform’s 19 member organisations have been working together with other NGOs to make sure that the EU has a strong Regulation on ship recycling.
The Platform will now work with the European Commission on developing criteria for the listing of ship recycling facilities, guidelines for auditing such EU-listed ship recycling facilities, and creating a financial incentive to support sustainable ship recycling.
Read our Platform’s Policy Paper from May 2015
Understand why the EU needs a financial mechanism for ship recycling
Understand why policies aimed at safeguarding sustainable ship recycling need to go beyond flag state jurisdiction
IN SHORT – the new EU ship recycling Regulation:
> Covers commercially owned vessels above 500 GT
> Establishes a list of ship recycling facilities
> Only allows EU flagged vessels to use EU listed facilities
> Disqualifies the beaching method from being listed
> Requires an IHM from all vessels visiting European ports
> Invites EC to propose a financial mechanism
> Application earliest in 2016 / latest in 2019
>> INVITATION <<
TOWARDS SUSTAINABLE SHIPPING
Civil society in dialogue with policy makers and the shipping industry
27 May 2015 – Athens, Greece
European ship owners own 40% of the world fleet and Greece is the European Union’s largest ship owning Member State. Several European policies target the environmental performance of shipping. This event will create a forum to discuss environmentally sound practices related to emissions, marine pollution and ship recycling as well as recent policy and legislative developments at the EU level.
We will focus on the role ship owners need to play to ensure the sustainable operation and management of their fleet, and the policies the EU, and Greece in particular, need to implement to not only hold ship owners accountable for substandard practices, but to also reward responsible ship owners. European NGOs working on sustainable shipping, European and Greek policy makers and industry representatives will share their views on future challenges and opportunities for Europe’s maritime industry.
> With the support of:
> Venue: European Parliament Information Office in Greece, 8 Leof. Amalias – 105 57 Athens
> Moderated by: Dionisis VITHOULKAS, journalist at TO VIMA
> Language: Greek/English translation will be provided
25.02.2015 – Declaration by EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella
On Wednesday 25 February, before an EU Parliament hearing with the Environment Committee, newly appointed Environment Commissioner Vella had to answer several questions about the EU Commission’s plan for the protection of the environment, including with regards to shipbreaking practices. Answering a question asked by French MEP Michèle Rivasi, the Commissioner declared “I agree that we need to stop the – I would say – shameful practice of European ships being dismantled on beaches”.
Here is Mr Vella’s complete declaration as filmed by the European Parliament’s TV channel:
26.01.2015 – Publication of annual list of global dumpers, including European companies
On 26 January the Platform like every year published its listing of the shipping companies that sold end-of-life ships for breaking to the beaching yards of South Asia. Out of a total of 1026 ships dismantled globally in 2014, 641 – representing 74% of the total gross tonnage (GT) scrapped – were sold to substandard facilities in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
>> Our annual lists can be download on this page
German ship owner Ernst Komrowski tops the list of the worst global dumpers with 14 end-of-life vessels sold to the beaches – all of these were formerly part of the Maersk fleet and had been on a long-term charter with the Danish container ship giant, which oppositely to Komrowski has a strict ship recycling policy for its own vessels.
The European Union has a particular responsibility to act – 34% of the gross tonnage broken in South Asia last year was European. Amongst the ships dismantled in 2014, 285 were either owned by a European company or flying the flag of an EU Member State. Two thirds of these European ships – 182 ships, including many having primarily operated in European waters – were beached. Whilst large European shipping nations such as Greece and Germany unsurprisingly top the list of 2014 worst dumping countries, selling respectively 70 and 41 large oceangoing vessels to South Asian breakers, they also top the list of ship-owning countries which sell almost exclusively to South Asian breakers, rather than to modern recyclers. Cyprus owners sold a record high 92% of their old ships to substandard yards in South Asia, German owners as much as 87% and Greek owners 76%. Comparatively, Chinese owners, including those based in Hong Kong, only sold 39% of their end-of-life vessels to beaching facilities in South Asia. China is the only major shipping nation in the world building up domestic capacity and working towards self-sufficiency in the management of its end-of-life fleet.
Despite the new EU Ship Recycling Regulation, which entered into force on 30 December 2013 and which out-rules the use of the beaching method to dismantle EU-flagged vessels, 41 ships registered under the flags of EU Member states Malta, Italy, Cyprus, UK and Greece hit the beaches in 2014. 15 additional ships changed their flag from an EU to a non-EU flag just weeks before reaching South Asia. As in previous years, particular flags of convenience such as Saint Kitts and Nevis (64 ships), Comoros (39 ships), Tuvalu (24 ships), Tanzania (20 ships) and Togo (20 ships) that are less favoured during operational use, were excessively popular flags for the end-of-life ships broken in South Asia. Any attempt to regulate ship recycling based only on flag state responsibility will have little impact due to the extensive use of non-compliant flags. Unless an economic incentive is added to the EU’s Ship Recycling Regulation, the registration of EU ships under flags of convenience such as Saint Kitts and Nevis, Tuvalu and Comoros is likely to increase, and will allow ship owners to sail around the law once it enters into force, and to continue dumping their ships in substandard facilities.
24.10.2014 – Platform sends comments to EU Commission about interpretation of EU Ship Recycling Regulation
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform in October 2014 sent comments to the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Environment (DG ENV) about the document it had prepared to interpret the EU Regulation 1257/2013 provisions on the requirements for ship recycling facilities. This document, called “Frequently Asked Questions”, was circulated by the Commission to collect comments before it being finalised. The Platform and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB), together with the more than 160 environmental, human and labour rights organisations they represent, prepared a common list of comments, which can be downloaded below:
>> NGO Shipbreaking Platform and EEB comments to the draft European Commission’s (EC) FAQ for the interpretation of the EU Regulation 1257/2013 provisions on the requirements for ship recycling facilities
9.07.2014 – “Environmental injustice in South Asia” event
On Wednesday 9 July, the Platform co-organised an event about environmental injustice in South Asia. The event took place at the European Institute for Asian Studies (EIAS) in Brussels. Nick Meynen, communications officer at the European Environmental Bureau/EJOLT and Jérôme Chaplier, coordinator of the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) took part as speakers. Rizwana Hasan, of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association and Ingvild Jenssen from the Platform spoke about shipbreaking in South Asia and the new EU ship recycling regulation. Ritwick Dutta, environmental lawyer for LIFE, presented the challenges of facing the mining industry in India. Jim Puckett from the US-based Basel Action Network chaired the debate.
The event explored how European companies operating in developing countries have a substantial impact both on local communities and the environment. In the global South, low-income groups and the working classes, indigenous and other local communities are often severely affected by unequal environmental burdens and risks. In their neighborhood or at their workplace, resource extraction, waste disposal and pollution jeopardizes their livelihoods and health. Issues of environmental justice raise the ethical and political questions of a fair distribution of environmental benefits and burdens, a fundamental precondition for sustainable development. In the recent years, an international Environmental Justice Movement has emerged calling for the protection of all citizens and the minimization of environmental risk as well as corporate accountability and producer responsibility.
12.05.2014 – Our requirements for EU ship recycling facilities
On 12 May the NGO Shipbreaking Platform and the European Environment Bureau (EEB) representing more than 160 organisations working on environmental policy sent recommendations for developing requirements for ship recycling facilities to the Environment attachés/counsellors of EU Member States’ permanent representations. The Member States met to discuss guidance notes that will be sent to ship recycling facilities based in the EU so that they can meet the necessary requirements to be listed by the European Commission. Those facilities that will be listed will then be able to recycle EU-flagged ships as established in the 2013 EU Ship Recycling Regulation. These guidance notes are therefore an important part of the implementation of the Regulation.
>> Download our letter to the permanent representations
>> Download our interpretation of requirements - in the form of a filled questionnaire sent by the EU Commission to all stakeholders
03.02.2014 – The NGO Shipbreaking Platform publishes 2013 list of European ships sent to the beaches of South Asia
On 3 February 2014, we published our annual list of EU ships sent to the beaches. We also published the data of all ships dismantled around the world.
Of the 1213 large ocean-going vessels that were scrapped in 2013, 645 were sold to substandard beaching facilities in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Approximately 40% of these ships were EU-owned. European ship owners sold a total of 372 large commercial vessels for breaking last year, of which 238, almost two thirds, ended up on a South Asian beach. Greece remains the worst European toxic ship dumper, closely followed by Germany. Owners in these countries disposed a record-high 80 percent of their end-of-life ships in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and included well-known companies such as Danaos and Euroseas (Greece), and Conti, Hapag-Lloyd and Leonhardt & Blumberg (Germany). Comparatively, Japanese owners sent 43% of their ships to South Asia, whilst Chinese owners in vast majority opted for nationally available ship recycling capacity . Other European companies that have recurrently topped the lists of worst dumpers include Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), with 9 ships dumped in India in 2013, and the Monaco-based Sammy Ofer Group, with 13 ships dumped in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
We wrote to EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik and EU Transport Commissioner Siim Kallas to express our concerns about the 238 European end-of-life ships that were dumped onto South Asian beaches last year. We also underlined the shortcomings of the EU Regulation on ship recycling, particulary its focus on flags.
The letter was also sent to Members of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament and Environmental attachés of the Member States Permanent Representations to the EU.
10.12.2013 – The new European Regulation on ship recycling (No 1257/2013) is published in the Official Journal of the EU
After both the European Parliament (on 22 October 2013) and the Council of the European Union (on 15 November 2013) formally approved the new European Regulation on ship recycling, the Regulation has now been published in the Official Journal. The Regulation will enter into force on 30 December 2013, 20 days after its publication. But not all articles will enter into force at the same time: various articles will apply at different stages as detailed in article 32 of the Regulation.
You need more information? Please contact the Platform.
05.12.2013 – Platform organises first pan-European Green Ship Recycling Conference in 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.
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.
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 simply because there has been no political will to recognise and support the industry in Europe in order to give ship owners a real clean and safe alternative to beaching in South Asia.”
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, 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.”
22.10.2013 – European Union bans breaking of ships on beaches
On 22 October the European Parliament voted in favour of the new EU Ship Recycling Regulation that bans the breaking of EU ships on beaches. The new Regulation only allow ships registered under the flag of an EU Member State to be dismantled in facilities that meet the requirements set out in the Regulation and that are listed by the European Commission. It will also demand Inventories of Hazardous Materials for all ships visiting European ports. These are all welcomed elements that have repeatedly been called for by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform to improve shipbreaking practices globally.
The NGO coalition warns however that the Regulation will fail to change the current state of play if no financial incentive is rapidly introduced to ensure compliance with the new rules. The new Regulation asks the European Commission to elaborate on the possibilities of a financial mechanism to enhance clean and safe ship recycling. Recent studies have proposed an array of possible mechanisms to implement the polluter pays principle for end-of-life ships and have clearly shown that a financial incentive for proper ship recycling is legally feasible, enforceable, and necessary.
Several other elements that can contribute to ensuring a more robust legislative framework are also left open for further development, such as the need to amend the Environmental Crimes Directive (2008/99/EC) to include breaches of the new Regulation and the need to develop adequate technical guidance notes on the requirements for ship recycling facilities and for the certification and auditing of ship recycling facilities outside the EU.
But, the new Regulation does nothing to prevent ship owners from jumping register to a non-EU flag prior to sending their ships for breaking in order to avoid falling under the requirements of the law. In 2012, three quarters of European owned vessels broken on the beaches of South Asia were registered under non-EU flags such as Panama, Liberia and Bahamas. With the new Regulation being a further incentive to flag out, vessels still registered under a flag of an EU Member State at end-of-life is likely to decline even further to a disillusioning number of ships, rendering the impact of the Ship Recycling Regulation non-existent for the purpose of improving ship recycling practices. In fact, the Regulation may even have the unintended effect of shrinking the number of ships registered under an EU flag, and therefore making the Regulation counterproductive to other EU initiatives aimed at building a more robust EU fleet.
In adopting the new Ship Recycling Regulation, the EU will also inevitably be forced to reconcile the illegality of unilaterally acting in non-compliance with international law – NGOs, independent environmental law experts and even the European Council Legal Services have warned of the illegality of the new Regulation.
20.09.2013 – Platform publishes policy paper aimed at the EU Commission to ensure the new Regulation would be a driver for change
In September the Platform presented a policy paper to the European Commission DG Environment, aimed at helping the Commission to better implement the then-future EU Regulation on ship recycling. Due to the fact that the Regulation is aimed at controlling EU-flagged ships, the Platform underlined specifically the need to establish a financial incentive to ensure compliance with the Regulation and the polluter pays principle. Without an economic incentive circumvention of European law covering end-of-life vessels will persist and the European shipping industry will continue to be at the heart of scandals involving severe pollution of coastal zones and exploitation of vulnerable workers in developing countries.
We have thus 6 recommendations to the EU Commission:
1- introduce a funding system based on the polluter pays principle applicable to all ships upon entry into European ports and waters;
2- streamline EU grants and loans to the shipping industry with a link to proper ship dismantling;
3- amend the Environmental Crimes Directive to include as a minimum infringements of the Ship Recycling Regulation related to using non-EU listed facilities and false declarations on hazardous materials on board a ship;
4- issue technical guidelines for ship recycling facilities and include standards that are equivalent to EU policies and rules on hazardous waste management;
5- issue technical guidelines for certification of non-EU ship recycling facilities and make transparent the procedure for these facilities to seek inclusion on the EU List;
6- ensure mandatory on-the-ground audits of ship recycling facilities on the EU List by independent third parties.
27.06.2013 – NGOs do not support approved EU regulation on ship recycling
On 27 June the NGO Shipbreaking Platform and European Environmental Bureau (EEB), and the more than 160 environmental, human and labour rights organisations they represent, announced that they did not support the new EU Regulation on ship recycling voted on 27 June by the European Council, and already approved by the European Parliament. While some positive aspects were included in the approved Regulation, such as the ban of beaching facilities for EU-flagged ships, the NGOs warned that the approved regulation fails to change the current state of play.
The NGOs welcomed that the Council accepted the European Parliament’s proposal to bind all ships calling at EU ports to have an inventory of hazardous materials (IHM) that are contained within the vessels’ structure, a prerequisite for clean and safe ship recycling.
The Parliament also succeeded in convincing the Council to support requirements for ship recycling facilities that go beyond those set in the International Maritime Organisation’s – yet to enter into force – Hong Kong Convention. This means that beaching sites will not be approved for EU listing, which prevents EU-flagged ships from being beached.
1st issue: re-flagging
While the Regulation may direct a very limited scope of ships registered under an EU flag to “green” listed ship recycling facilities that are built to adequately contain hazardous materials – an effective ban on the breaking of EU flagged ships on tidal beaches – the Regulation does nothing to prevent shipowners from jumping register to a non-EU flag prior to sending their ships for breaking. This would mean that they avoid falling under the requirements of the new EU law. In fact, the Regulation may even have the unintended effect of shrinking the number of ships registered under an EU flag, and therefore making the Regulation counterproductive to other EU initiatives aimed at building a more robust EU fleet.
2nd issue: lack of financial incentive
Recent studies have proposed an array of possible mechanisms to implement the polluter pays principle, which would focus on the shipowner, and have clearly shown that a financial incentive for proper ship recycling is legally feasible, enforceable, and necessary. Yet, such a mechanim was not included in the approved Regulation.
3rd issue: illegality
The ship recycling Regulation that was voted today in Council exempts ships from the European Waste Shipment Regulation, which aims at protecting developing countries from the dumping of hazardous wastes and incorporates the United Nations Basel Convention and its Basel Ban Amendment. There are clear and compelling legal opinions proving that this unilateral exemption of ships is a breach of the European Union’s legal obligations to uphold the Basel Convention and its Basel Ban Amendment. Independent environmental law experts and the European Council Legal Services have warned of the illegality of the new Regulation.
Please refer to our press release for more details
29.05.2013 – Shipowners’ corporate social responsibility highlighted during “Chittagong Blues & The Shipbreakers” exhibition in Brussels
On Wednesday 29 May, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform held a reception at the offices of Edelman | The Centre in Brussels for the opening of the art and photo exhibition “Chittagong Blues & The Shipbreakers”, which features works of art by German sculptress Nele Ströbel and pictures by French photographer Pierre Torset. Nele Ströbel was present at the opening reception and shared her artistic impressions of the Chittagong yards, where the world’s second largest shipbreaking yard is located.
More than 70 people representing the European institutions, civil society organisations, trade unions, and the industry attended the event, which focused on the upcoming European ship recycling regulation and the shipping world’s corporate social responsibility to ensure clean and safe ship recycling worldwide.
“As long as we have no effective international regulation without major loopholes, the improvement of the situation will also depend on the shipowners’ will to demand clean and safe recycling”, said the Platform’s Executive Director, Patrizia Heidegger, in her welcoming speech. “We expect the shipowners’ associations, amongst them the European Community Shipowners’ Association based here in Brussels, to play a more active role and to demand real changes in the behavior of their their members. We expect individual shipowners to develop their CSR policy with regards to ship recycling and accept their share of responsibility.”
Axel Singhofen, political advisor to the Greens/EFA at the European Parliament, updated the audience about the negotiations taking place beween the Parliament, the Commission and the Council about the upcoming European ship recycling regulation.
Tom Peter Blankestijn, Managing Director of Dutch ship recycling company Sea2Cradle, shared his 18 years of experience in the business, underlining that a lot remains to be done to change the shipowners’ mindset when it comes to making responsible decisions for the decommissioning of ships.
Finally, Gudrun Pamme-Vogelsang, an art gallery owner from Cologne, introduced German sculptress Nele Ströbel’s artwork.
(Above picture: Francesca Carlsson, Intern at the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director, Nele Ströbel, Artist and Gudrun Pamme-Vogelsang, Art gallery owner. Below: sculptures by Nele Ströbel)
18.04.2013 – NGOs welcome European Parliament decision to ban beaching but criticize it for killing the fund
On 18 April 2013, the European Parliament in a first reading of the European Commission proposal for a ship recycling regulation, voted 292 in favour and 299 against the creation of a Europe-wide ship recycling fund. Whereas the ENVI Committee (see below) of the European Parliament had enthusiastically supported the fund three weeks earlier, the Parliament as a whole unfortunately rejected it, replacing the fund with a much weaker call on the European Commission to come up with a “financial incentive” by 2015. Therefore, instead of creating a sound fund that would include all shipowners calling at European ports in the solution, the Parliament preferred passing the ball back to the Commission.
On the other hand, the decision to ban beaching by introducing more stringent measures to comply with for ship recycling facilities, was voted for by the Parliament. If accepted by the European Council, the EU institution that is now also discussing the Commission Proposal, this would be the first regional ban on the beaching method – a step urgently needed if any change is to be brought to the global shipbreaking crisis.
>> See the vote amendment by amendment (amendment n°31 corresponds to the fund)
>> See the detail of the vote against the fund, political party by political party:
EPP (European People’s Party): 19 MEPs voted in favour of the fund, the rest of the EPP voted against
S&D (Socialists & Democrats): all in favour, except 4 against and 11 abstentions
ALDE (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe): 42 in favour, 22 against, 3 abstentions
Greens/EFA (Greens/European Free Alliance): 47 in favour, 1 against
ECR (European Conservatives and Reformists): 1 in favour, 38 against
GUE/NGL (European United Left – Nordic Green Left): 25 in favour, 4 against, 3 abstentions
EFD (Europe of Freedom and Democracy): 11 in favour, 13 against
26.03.2013 – NGO Shipbreaking Platform welcomes EU Parliament ENVI Committee vote for ship recycling fund and off-the-beach stance, but warns that Basel regime for ships must be kept in place
On Tuesday 26 March 2013, the European Parliament’s Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) voted in a large majority in support of the ship recycling fund, an economic incentive to finance environmentally sound ship recycling and internalise the costs of proper hazardous waste management. The idea is to have all ships calling at EU ports pay a fee into the fund, which will disburse premiums for safe and sound ship recycling in carefully vetted EU-listed facilities. The fund should eliminate the price gap to substandard facilities located on beaches in non-OECD countries where shipowners currently obtain the highest prices for their end-of-life ships, even when shipbreaking workers are killed and suffer from occupational diseases caused by the toxic materials present in these ships. The fund is supported by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
Moreover, the NGOs welcome the groundbreaking decision to outlaw beaching, the polluting and dangerous practice of breaking ships on tidal beaches.
However, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform and several legal experts also decry the Parliament’s Environment Committee for voting to remove toxic ships from the EU Waste Shipment Regulation, a proposal that would suddenly legalise the export of end-of-life ships built with asbestos, heavy metals or PCBs to non-OECD countries. The Platform warns that this unilateral step violates the EU’s and Member States’ obligations under the Basel Convention and the Basel Ban Amendment. Under the international Basel Convention to which all Member States and the EU itself are parties, and under current European law (Waste Shipment Regulation) ships sold for recycling are considered hazardous waste, the export of which from the EU to non-OECD countries like India is currently illegal. There can be no unilateral decision that ships are not hazardous waste: only the Basel Convention itself can decide on this matter, which they have not.
>> Read our press release
22.02.2013 – Danish ship recycler Fornaes Aps adds 10th signature to Common Statement of Concern
The Danish-based ship recycling company Fornaes Aps (Fornaes Ship recycling) today added its signature to the Common Statement of Concern published last November by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, which calls on European institutions to consider the European-based ship recycling capacity in the debate on the future European ship recycling regulation. Fornaes Aps is the second ship recycling yard in Denmark to sign the statement after the company Smedegaarden added its signature in November.
Click here to download the updated version of the Statement of Concern
22.01.2013 – Study shows a financial mechanism for ship recycling is legal, enforceable and effective
In its study published on 22 January 2013, the Dutch economic consultancy Profundo argues that a financial mechanism ensuring that green ship recycling takes place globally and in particular with ships controlled by the European Union is not only legally defensible but is necessary to ensure the success of any green ship recycling legislation.
The report provides three different alternative models: a fund financed by shipowners through taxes levied at EU ports, a ship life insurance scheme, and a savings account coupled to a transitional fund specifically aimed at financing the recycling of older ships.
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform welcomed this report, arguing that any such mechanism must be based on individual producer responsibility and be a strong economic incentive for shipowners to dismantle their end-of-life vessels properly. The financial incentive must meet the following three objectives:
- internalize the costs for proper ship recycling and the management of hazardous wastes;
- discourage the reflagging of end-of-life vessels to avoid European regulations;
- implement an individual shipowner responsibility scheme to encourage the shipping industry to procure green ship design and pre-clean ships during operational use.
Updated version of Policy Paper
On 22 January 2013, the Platform also published an updated, more detailed version of its joint Policy Paper published in November 2012 with Greenpeace. The updated Policy Paper contains a detailed argumentation about the objectives and elements that should be included in the financial mechanism.
17.12.2012 – Legal Opinions criticize legality of EC Proposal
On 17 December, following the publication of legal analyses of the European Commission Proposal for a ship recycling regulation by two independent lawyers, the Platform wrote to the European Council’s legal service, asking for the public release of their own analysis of the Proposal. Both the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and Dr. Ludwig Krämer, the former chief counsel to the European Commission, conclude that the European Commission has greatly overstepped its authority by attempting to unilaterally depart from its international legal obligations under the Basel Convention.
The legal experts find that the European Commission’s proposal not only undermined the Basel Ban, which Europe has implemented and championed, but that it is also illegal under the Basel Convention. Dr. Krämer’s legal analysis concludes that “any proposal to remove ships from the Waste Shipment Regulation is in breach of EU and EU Member States’ legal obligations under the Basel Convention.” CIEL’s legal analysis, authored by David Azoulay, was also in agreement, concluding that “the EU’s Proposed Legislation attempting to unilaterally exempt a certain category of hazardous waste covered by the Basel Convention, namely end-of-life ships, from the control mechanisms of the Convention is illegal under international law and EU law.”
27.11.2012 – Common statement with European ship recyclers
We published an updated version of the statement on 22.02.2013.
Click here or on the picture on the left to download the statement.
On 27 November, several European ship recyclers and the Platform signed a common Statement of Concern about the Commission proposal. Seeing that the proposal in its current form does not take into account the current ship recycling capacity offered in the European Union, the ship recyclers are calling on the EU institutions to grasp this opportunity to create green jobs and keep a valuable stream of resources within the EU.
“Green ship recycling facilities within the OECD could currently recycle all EU-flagged end-of-life vessels containing hazardous wastes“, the statement reads. “By using these facilities, the EU can both comply with its international obligations under the Basel Convention by stopping the export of hazardous wastes to developing countries, and promote urgently needed jobs in the green ship recycling industry in Europe.”
So far, ship recyclers in the UK, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Spain, Belgium and Denmark have signed the statement. More signatures by ship recyclers may be added in the future. The statement can be downloaded here or by clicking on the image to the left.
The statement was published one day before the first discussion on the Commission proposal takes place in the European Parliament. On 28 November, the Parliament’s Committee for Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) debated the draft report on the Commission proposal prepared by Carl Schlyter MEP.
13.11.2012 – Joint Position Paper
On 13 November, the Platform and Greenpeace EU, both based in Brussels, published a joint position paper on ship recycling called “A principled and practical solution for ship recycling: NGO Shipbreaking Platform and Greenpeace Position on the European Commission Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on Ship Recycling (COM 2012/118)”.
“The Commission Proposal on ship recycling includes gaps and loopholes which, if not rectified by the Council and the European parliament, will result in a legislative text unable to respond to the legal and political concerns related to the export of hazardous waste ships to developing countries”, the position paper reads.
A revised, stronger version of the proposal should :
- keep end-of-life vessels under the competency of the Waste Shipment Regulation, the EU legislation that implements both the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, and the Ban Amendment;
- create two European Lists of ship recycling facilities, one listing all facilities in the OECD countries (including the EU) where end-of-life ships containing hazardous materials would be sent, and the other listing all facilities outside the OECD countries where non-hazardous ships would be recycled;
- make the shipping industry internalize costs by setting up a funding mechanism that would work as a disincentive to re-flag, thus avoid applicable European legislation. This funding mechanism could be a ship life insurance or an environmental port fee;
- include a ban on the beaching of end-of-life ships;
- include the Substitution Principle so that hazardous wastes can be replaced by safer, healthier alternatives as early as in the design phase of the ship, and throughout its operational life.
The position paper can be downloaded by clicking on the picture above and here.
06.11.2012 – Event at the EU Parliament
On 6 November 2012 the Platform co-organised an event at the European Parliament: “Shipbreaking: taking responsibility for hidden costs”. The event was hosted by Carl Schlyter MEP, the rapporteur on the Commission proposal to the European Parliament’s Environment Committee.
The event featured a panel discussion chaired by Mr Schlyter. Amongst the panelists was Karl Falkenberg, director general of the DG Environment of the European Commission, who declared that EU-flagged ships (which are the only ships concerned by the Commission proposal in its current form) would not be allowed to be sold to ship recycling facilities using the beaching method. It was the first time that a representative from the Commission made a public statement against beaching as a possible method for recycling EU ships.
EU Commission proposal deemed illegal
Other panelists included Ludwig Krämer, environmental lawyer at ClientEarth, who explained that the Commission proposal in its current form is illegal. Mr Krämer said the proposal if adopted would effectively withdraw end-of-life ships from the EU Waste Shipment Regulation, whereas this is forbidden by law as the EU is bound by an international treaty known as the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, which defines end-of-life ships as hazardous wastes. The EU has also made the export of these ships from the EU to developing countries illegal by transposing what is known as the Ban Amendment into EU law through the same Waste Shipment Regulation.
Jim Puckett, executive director of Basel Action Network (BAN), explained that the EU had always been a champion of the Ban Amendment and said that this Commission proposal was worrying as it represents a big step backwards if indeed the EU intends to continue protecting developing countries from becoming the dumping sites for richer countries’ hazardous waste.
Finally, Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) and advocate at the Supreme Court of Bangladesh said that the EU Commission should make sure the waste present within EU-flagged ships is properly treated in the EU instead of being sent to developing countries like Bangladesh, who lack the proper facilities to effectively manage hazardous waste. She called on the European Commission to ban beaching for EU ships so that they would have to choose alternatives to developing countries using this method.
Her presentation can be downloaded here.
Harrowing documentary highlights fatal flaws of beaching
The event was also the occasion for Ralph Vituccio, an award-winning documentary film maker and Director of Media Development in Communications Design at Carnegie Mellon (USA), and his colleague Tom Clancey, a Los-Angeles-based cinematographer, to present the trailer of their upcoming documentary “The Shipbreakers”, filmed in the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. The film makers shared with the audience their experience while filming in the yards, describing in detail the pollution they witnessed and the lack of proper equipment and infrastructure the shipbreaking workers have to deal with every day.
A small exhibition featuring pictures taken in Bangladesh by Pierre Torset, a French photographer, was featured at the entrance of the event.