Tradewinds – Shipowners blast recycling move by European Union

(Written by Adam Corbett)

6 February 2013 - The International Chamber of Shipping thinks Europe is trying to go against an international convention on recycling because it wants to develop its own breaking business.

Shipowners have accused the European Union (EU) of putting the Hong Kong International Convention on the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships Convention (Hong Kong Convention) at risk by trying to adopt its own rules.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) said it believes that a proposal for regional legislation, which contradicts the Hong Kong Convention, now under consideration by the European Parliament is intended to foster a European shipbreaking business.

Last year, TradeWinds exclusively revealed that a report by the European Parliament’s Carl Schlyter called for the adoption of local amendments to the Hong Kong Convention. These include the introduction of a levy from ships calling at EU ports to be used to audit shiprecycling yards. The parliament is also considering a ban on the common practice of scrapping on the beach.

Strong backers of the Hong Kong Convention like Japan and Norway have been outraged by the EU move.

ICS chairman Masamichi Morooka says that the EU proposals are not geared toward improving conditions in shipbreaking countries.

“If the EU regulation goes ahead in its current form, it is very hard to see how the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Convention can ever enter into force,” he said.

“As well as damaging the EU-registered fleet, undermining the Hong Kong Convention will do little to help workers in recycling yards in developing nations who will continue to be engaged in dismantling the majority of the world’s redundant ships,” he added.

The ICS commented: “The ulterior motive of the European parliament seems to be a wish to create work for shiprecycling facilities in Europe.”

“It must be hoped that the governments of EU member states, which are signatories to the Hong Kong Convention, will start to see sense and stop these damaging proposals before it is too late,” Morooka said.