European Union sets a global standard for sustainable ship recycling: NGOs call on shipping companies to use EU approved yards
Brussels April 12, 2016 - Today, the European Commission (EC)
publishes technical guidance for
ship recycling facilities that want to be approved under the EU Ship
Recycling Regulation. The European Union (EU) mirrors with this step
the call by environmental and human rights NGOs for a relocation of
ship recycling to platforms that can ensure sustainable practices.
Facilities that intend to be listed as EU-approved will need to ensure
safe working conditions, pollution control including proper downstream
waste management and enforcement of international labour rights.
that want to make it on the EU list of approved facilities need to meet
high environmental and safety standards. The EC is clear in its
message: an unprotected beach is never going to be an appropriate place
for a high-risk heavy industry involving hazardous waste management”,
said Ingvild Jenssen, Policy Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
According to the EU, ship recycling is an industrial activity that
needs industrial methods, equipment and standards. Workers and the
environment anywhere in the world have the same right to protection
under the EU Regulation. Attempts by some Member States with strong
shipping interests to water down the requirements of the Regulation,
more specifically, to accept low-cost beaching facilities in South Asia
as environmentally friendly and safe for workers in order to make it on
the list, have not been successful.
The EU list of approved ship recycling facilities  will become a
global reference point for sustainable ship recycling. It rewards the
companies that already have or are willing to invest in the necessary
infrastructure and the employment of fully trained workers to ensure
safe and environmentally sound recycling practices. The yards
responsible shipping companies such as Hapag Lloyd, Wilhelmsen, Grieg
and Royal Dutch Boskalis work with in Europe, China and Turkey will
most likely feature on the EU list after having provided evidence that
they comply with the requirements and in some cases also having
improved their practices in order to meet the European standard. By
promising to clearly distinguishing good from bad practices , the EU
list has also already prompted the establishment of new facilities that
see opportunities for an increased market share.
For ship owners, the EU list will be the only guarantee that their
end-of-life vessels are not causing harm to workers and the
environment. Backed by ‘independent verifiers with qualifications’ and
audits by the EC or agents acting on its behalf, a further important
warranty lays in the right NGOs have to submit complaints and concerns
to the EC regarding the functioning of a facility and with that prompt
an on-site visit to establish whether the facility should be removed
from the list.
vessels sailing under an EU flag will be legally obliged to use an EU
approved facility, any shipping company around the world with a
responsible policy can use the EU listed facilities to prove their
effort”, said Jenssen.
 The EU list of approved ship recycling facilities is expected to be
published by the end of 2016. Applications from facilities that want to
feature on the first batch of the list need to be sent to the EC by 1
 Unlike the industry driven International Maritime Organisation
(IMO) the EU is not rubberstamping the unnecessarily risky activity of
managing reverse logistics of ship material management on a beach. The
EU requirements go beyond the IMO’s Hong Kong Convention (HKC), a piece
of law which was adopted in 2009, but so far has only been ratified by
four countries and is unlikely to enter into force in due time. More
than 100 global environmental and human rights organisations, the UN
Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics and European policy
makers have denounced the HKC for merely rubberstamping the status quo.