Maritime Journal – Study supports funding for EU ship recycling

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24 January 2013 - A study published this week by the Dutch economic consultancy Profundo argues that a financial measure to ensure the green recycling of ships controlled by the EU is not only legally defensible but is necessary.

It comes just as the European Parliament is starting to grapple with the issue.

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, a global coalition of 18 environmental, human rights and labour rights organisations promoting clean and safe ship recycling, welcomes the study’s findings and calls on the European Parliament and the Council to include a financial mechanism in order to turn the Commission proposal into an effective instrument to promote responsible ship recycling and to level the playing field globally. The Platform also released this week an updated version of its Policy Paper, which contains a detailed argumentation about the objectives and elements that should be included in the financial mechanism.

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform argues 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:

  1. internalize the costsfor proper ship recycling and the management of hazardous wastes
  2. discourage the reflagging of end of life vessels to avoid European regulations
  3. implementanindividual shipowner responsibility scheme to encourage the shipping industry to procure green ship design and pre-clean ships during operational use

The Commission itself discussed the idea of a fund in its Green Paper ‘On better ship dismantling’ and the European Parliament already called on the Commission in 2008 to analyse different possibilities. Unfortunately, the Commission did not include a financial mechanism in its proposal published in March 2012. However, Carl Schlyter MEP, the rapporteur to the Environment Committee in the European Parliament, has suggested a fund financed by fees paid by ships calling at EU ports, which is now being discussed by all political groups.