Home News Shipowners face shortage of ship recycling facilities as EU fail to approve Indian subcontinent yards

Shipowners face shortage of ship recycling facilities as EU fail to approve Indian subcontinent yards

by timenews
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Reports say, European shipowners are facing a serious shortage of ship recycling facilities as EU authorities have not approved a single facility in the Indian subcontinent.

Despite the fact that 93 recycling yards in India and Bangladesh have now been validated by major classification societies as compliant with the requirements of the IMO’s Hong Kong Convention even though it has not yet entered force, none have been approved by the European Union (EU)

The EU cites poor downstream waste management infrastructure and lack of access to nearby emergency health facilities as reasons; however, some observers believe the EU’s stance is politically drive.

According to the report, the bloc’s most recent November 2020 list of approved facilities numbers just nine – eight in Turkey and one in the US – despite 39 applications, while recycling facilities complying with the IMO’s Hong Kong Convention standards now total 109, according to Dr Anil Sharma, founder and CEO of GMS, the world’s largest cash buyer of end-of-life ships.

Sharma disclosed recently at an Immedia sea recycling webinar, with other sector participants. In addition to the 92 Indian yards approved under the Hong Kong Convention, there are also 14 in Turkey, two in China, and one in Bangladesh.

He noted that many have applied to the EU to validate their facilities, but are still waiting. Meanwhile, many owners and operators have limited recycling options for end-of-life ships because global ship dismantling capacity is now seriously inadequate.

What many believe is now an absurd situation has arisen because, since 2019, the Basel ban, part of the Basel Convention and the related European Ship Waste Regulation, prevent the export of hazardous waste from OECD countries to non-OECD nations. Under the EU’s Ship Recycling Regulation (SRR), which upholds the Basel ban, European owners’ ships which fly one of the trading bloc’s flags, or which sail from a European port on a final voyage, cannot be recycled at a facility that is not approved under the EU’s SRR.

There are many complex legal and economic arguments. Can a ship that sails under her own power, legally manned, and with a compliant Inventory of Hazardous Materials, technically be categorised as “waste”, for example.

Those who don’t agree highlight recent containerships sold initially for recycling which, following the recent box market boom, were sold on for further trading. They were clearly not “waste”, they say.

Meanwhile, for countries such as Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, which rely on scrap steel, many thousands of workers are gainfully employed both directly and indirectly as a result of ship recycling business.

Bangladesh, without access to iron ore, must use recycled steel to feed its steel mills, Sharma pointed out.

Other presenters were also critical of the EU’s stance. The International Chamber of Shipping’s (ICS) John Stawpert, manager for the organisation’s Environment and Trade, asked whether the trading bloc was more concerned about ensuring the validity of its own regulation, rather than the efficient operation of the global ship recycling business.

Sotiris Raptis, director of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations Maritime and Safety Division, expressed regret that no Indian recycling facilities had yet been approved by the EU. This was despite vast improvements in facilities and working conditions over recent years, he said, supported by classification society approvals.

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