European Shipowners Request More Capacity Added to EU Ship Recycling List

Workers sort out metal scrap of a decommissioned ship at the Alang shipyard in the western state of Gujarat, India, May 29, 2018. Picture taken May 29, 2018. REUTERS/Amit Dave

European shipowners are asking for more capacity to be added to the EU list of approved ship recycling facilities that will come into play next year with entry into force of EU Ship Recycling Regulation.

The European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) this week issued a statement welcoming the European Commission’s current inspections of facilities for consideration of inclusion on the list. It also encouraged the EC to include non EU facilities, such as ones India that are found to be compliant with the requirements, to be included.

Under the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, by December 31, 2018, all ships flying a European flag have to be recycled in a facility which is included on the European List of approved ship. As of May 2018, the list included 21 shipyards all located in the EU.

“A lot has been written lately on whether or not the current list meets the capacity needs for the European flagged fleet to be recycled in a safe and environmentally sound way” said Martin Dorsman, Secretary General of the European Community of Shipowners’ Associations, ECSA. ”We were and still are worried that there is not enough capacity and certainly welcome the Commission’s current efforts to enlarge the list.”

Earlier this month, the International Ship Recycling Association released figures showing the capacity of facilities included on the list is 1.3 million LDT, which the Association said was sufficient based on demand estimates.

According to the ECSA, however, the capacity needed is closer to 2,000,000 LDT.

Based on its European Commission estimates, the 5-year average for the period 2013-2017 was approximately 1.02 million LDT, including EU flagged vessels and vessels that changed flag from an EU flag.

However, in order to ensure sufficient capacity, ECSA said you have to look at the busiest years. 

“The busiest year out of the five years examined was 2013 when 989.000 LDT of EU flagged ships were recycled and 635.000 LDT of ships that changed flags from an EU flag within the last year,” the ECSA said in a statement. “This makes 1.624.000 LDT for 2013.

“2012 was the busiest year in ship recycling over the last 10 years, as can be seen in documents widely available (IMO, IHS and Dr. N Mikelis). 2012 was busier than 2013 by 23 % in terms of GT. Increasing the 2013 figure of 1.624.000 LDT by 23% would lead to 1.998.000 LDT. This is much higher than the available capacity however calculated that is now available,” the ECSA added

Dorsman added: “The European shipowners wish is to ensure safe and sound recycling of their ships in economically viable way. In case the recycling yards in the European list will have capacity enough for our shipowners end-of life ships, they would welcome the news of course.”

The ECSA statement goes on to point out that European yards are not only active in ship recycling, but also in ship repair and conversions, which could further constrain capacity, and ‘very few’ EU yards are capable of recycling bigger vessels.

Ratification of the Hong Kong Convention, according to ESCA, is key to improving the working and environmental conditions of the global ship recycling industry.

“European shipowners strongly support the ratification of the Hong Kong convention as the best way to improve the working and environmental conditions of the global ship recycling industry. European shipowners, together with shipowners from all over the world, urgently ask governments that did not yet do so to ratify the Hong Kong convention,” the ECSA said.