European shipowners are calling for the European Commission to open its list of approved ship recycling facilities to non-EU countries as soon as possible in order to keep pace with global demand.
According to the European Community Shipowners’ Association, yards included as the list so far have capacity to handle less than 30% of the EU’s own ship recycling target, demonstrating the need for non-EU recycling yards to be included in the list.
“Approximately 150 container vessels were sent for recycling in 2016, the current EU list would cater for only 16 smaller container vessels, taking into consideration limitation of EU yards in terms of length and vessel draft,” said Patrick Verhoeven, ECSA Secretary General. “And that is just for one type of vessels. We thus strongly encourage the Commission to enlarge the list to non-EU facilities as soon as possible.”
The European Commission published its first edition of the EU list of approved ship recycling facilities last December. The list included 18 recycling yards located only in the EU that have been deemed safe for workers and environmentally sound in accordance with the relevant requirements of the 2013 EU Ship Recycling Regulation. Under the regulation, which will enter into force no later than January 1, 2019, all vessels sailing under an EU flag will be required to use an approved ship recycling facility at the end of their operating lives. Although the Commission has received applications for inclusion in the list from yards in non-EU countries – such as Turkey, China, and India – the Commission said last month that these applications were still being reviewed and their inclusion in the list would be decided in 2017.
The ECSA says the initial list however shows a clear need for a more global mind-set.
“Whilst the EU list can serve to raise ship recycling standards worldwide and respond to recycling demand, the current list clearly shows the need to include third country yards and especially those that already meet the international standards laid down in the Hong Kong Convention,” said Verhoeven.
The ECSA notes that while the IMO’s Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships has not yet entered into force, it has already had a profound impact on the ship-recycling worldwide as a number of yards have already taken action to apply with its requirements. Probably the most notable of these yards are located in Alang, India, where a number of facilities have been certified in compliance with the Hong Kong Convention despite their continued use of the controversial “beaching” method, which involves ships being driven onto a beach and dismantled within the intertidal zone. The ECSA is supportive of responsible recycling in Alang and has called on the European Commission to consider their inclusion on the list.
“Giving these yards EU recognition will encourage others to raise their standards and apply for inclusion as well,” the ECSA said in a statement Friday. “It will furthermore ensure sufficient and adequate capacity on the EU list, not just in terms of volume, but also in terms of the size of ships that can be dismantled. In turn, this will facilitate a swift entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, creating a flag neutral level playing field in the global ship recycling market.”
The EU Ship Recycling Regulation will enter into force either six months after the date that the combined maximum annual ship recycling output of the ship recycling facilities included in the European list constitutes not less than 2.5 million light displacement tonnes (LDT), or on 31 December 2018, whichever date occurs first.