MarineLink – EU Takes Tough Stance on Ship Scrapping in South Asia

(Written by Aiswarya Lakshmi)

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1 April 2015 - The EU is set to ban owners from scrapping ships on South Asian beaches, according to news report in Reuters.

The new rules will require that EU-registered ships are only recycled at sustainable facilities, lowering the environmental and human cost of the current process of dismantling vessels on SA beaches.

New European Union rules are to be put into place to ensure that EU-registered vessels are only recycled in sustainable facilities.

European, Turkish and Chinese recyclers are set to benefit from strict new EU rules on breaking up old ships, but the practice of dismantling them on beaches in South Asia – at great human and environmental cost – will still be hard to stop.

A list of the sustainable facilities is expected to be published next year and may include yards in Europe, China, Turkey, and North America.

According to statistics from the NGO Shipbreaking Platform of the 1,026 ships recycled in 2014, 641 were dismantled in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

South Asian facilities are generally favoured as they have fewer rules on dismantling; meaning profits are higher for those involved in the breakdown.

Tankers, cruise liners and other old vessels are rammed onto beaches and stripped down by hundreds of unskilled workers using simple tools such as blowtorches. Chemicals leak into the ocean when the tide comes in.