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Preparatory Discussions on Promoting Ship Recycling through the Global Programme Dhaka, 13 January 2008 Developments in Europe: The European Commission’s Green Paper on better ship recycling Thomas Ormond European Commission DG Environment, Unit G.4 Structure of the presentation

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Preparatory Discussions on Promoting Ship Recyclingthrough the Global ProgrammeDhaka, 13 January 2008Developments in Europe:The European Commission’s Green Paper on better ship recycling

Thomas Ormond

European Commission

DG Environment, Unit G.4

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Structure of the presentation

  • Background

  • Problems

  • Europe’s role

  • Draft Ship Recycling Convention

  • Towards an EU strategy

  • Short- and medium-term measures

  • Long-term measures

Background l.jpg

  • 1980s Cases of hazardous waste from Europe being dumped in developing countries

  • 1989 Basel Convention – to control transboundary waste movements

  • 1995 Basel Ban Amendment – to prohibit exports of hazardous waste from OECD to non-OECD countries. Transposed in the EU by the Waste Shipment Regulation (currently Reg. 1013/2006).


  • 1980s/90s Ship dismantling industry moves to developing countries.

  • Since 1990s Reports about environmental and safety problems of beaching

  • 2002-2004 Technical Guidelines of Basel Convention / ILO / IMO

  • Late 2005 IMO decides to develop Ship Recycling Convention.

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  • Many old ships (built until 1980s) have high quantities of hazardous materials on board.Of special concern: warships, large passenger liners, chemical and oil tankers.

  • Until 2015 up to 5.5 million tonnes of materials of potential environmental concern could end up in dismantling yards, esp. oil sludge, oils, paints, PVC and asbestos (est. 2004).

  • Problems with safety and environmental protection in shipbreaking yards:- Gas explosions- Higher accident risk without cranes/dockyard equipment- Toxic fumes- Asbestos- PCB, mercury + other hazardous materials- Lack of containment / impermeable surfaces – pollution of water and soil ...

  • Different environmental + safety standards – no level playing field worldwide!

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Europe’s role

  • Some EU Member States among top maritime nations. - 25% of worldwide tonnage EU-MS-flagged; - 40% owned by EU-domiciled companies.

  • Nearly all larger ships from EU are dismantled in South Asia – without pre-cleaning. Several high-profile cases in 2006-7.

  • Most maritime states have no ship recycling policy.

  • Nov. 2006: EU Council sees environmentally sound management of ship dismantling as a priority and welcomes Commission’s intention to work towards an EU-wide strategy.

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Draft Ship Recycling Convention

  • Cradle-to-grave approach

  • Principle: certified ships to authorised yards

  • Binding regulations, non-binding guidelines

  • Open questions: scope, non-Parties, verification & compliance, ESM standard, implementation mechanisms

  • Not covered: state vessels, small ships, domestic shipping?

  • Will it generate change, when and how?

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Towards an EU strategy

  • Green Paper on better ship dismantling - adopted May 2007, public consultation until Sept. 2007

  • Communication from the Commission – planned for second half of 2008

  • Studies of 2001, 2004, 2007 – further research planned

  • Measures after adoption of Ship Recycling Convention (2009-)

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Short- and medium-term measures

  • Implementation of current waste shipment law + ILO, IMO, Basel Convention guidelines

  • Voluntary action by ship-owners – to be encouraged

  • Exemplary dismantling of government vessels

  • Development of guidelines, standards, certificates

  • Technical assistance for workers’ training, improvement of infrastructure etc in developing countries

  • Public awareness-raising, transparency

  • Research on technology, economic/social/environmental impacts

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Long-term measures

  • Implementation of the Ship Recycling Convention:- Prohibition / limitation of hazardous materials on board ships- Surveys and certificates in place worldwide- All ship recycling facilities authorised, safe + environmentally sound

  • Sustainable worldwide funding system: Implementing the Polluter Pays principle!

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More information