Recycling International – Big majority for new EU shipbreaking regulation

12 July 2013 - Europe: Despite scepticism surrounding latest European shipbreaking legislation to prevent what has been described as the ‘reckless’ and ‘unacceptable’ scrapping of vessels on the beaches of Asia, it was backed by nearly all members of the EU’s environment committee. According to Carl Schlyter, who steered the legislation through the European Parliament, there were 58 votes in favour, five against and one abstention.

‘I want to stress that this is not an attack against India, Bangladesh or Pakistan – the countries that currently practice beaching – but against the dangerous and highly-polluting practice of beaching,’ stresses Schlyter. Instead, he says, the new regulation ‘incentivises’ these countries to make the ‘necessary investments in proper ship recycling facilities’.

In discussing the draft, the European Parliament strengthened the requirements imposed on ship recycling facilities to clearly preclude the practice of beaching, Schlyter confirms. This means that these facilities must, among other things: operate from built structures; be designed, constructed and operated in a safe and environmentally sound manner; and keep hazardous materials contained throughout the recycling process, and handle them and their waste only on impermeable floors with effective drainage.

Furthermore, waste must be documented and processed in authorised treatment or recycling facilities. It has been reported that non-EU vessels are included in the scope of the regulation; they must also carry an inventory of hazardous materials when calling at ports in the EU.

According to EU sources, the Parliament will conclude its first reading in a plenary session this autumn. The regulation is expected to enter into force early next year, and will apply to ships at the earliest two years and at the latest five years after that point.