It is positive that ships are recycled and that almost every part of a ship can be reused. However, in some countries, the way in which ships are recycled leaves something to be desired. This is due to concerns about the protection of the safety of workers and the environment. This is why there are international and regional regulations for the recycling of seagoing vessels.
Hong Kong International Convention
The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (“Hong Kong Convention”) was adopted in 2009. This sets adequate requirements for ship recycling procedures, applying globally to ship recycling companies and shipowners. However, this convention has not yet been ratified by enough countries to come into effect.
European Ship Recycling Regulation
The European Ship Recycling Regulation came into force in 2013. While it has many similarities with the Hong Kong Convention, it is less effective and does not provide a level playing field on a global scale.
In addition, EU Member State-flagged ships may only be recycled within the EU at ship recycling facilities approved by an EU Member State, or outside the EU at ship recycling facilities approved by the European Commission. These ship recycling yards are included in a list of facilities that have been approved by the EU to recycle EU-flagged seagoing vessels.
European Waste Shipment Regulation
Furthermore, there are hugely significant complications in the application of the European Regulation 1013/2006 on the shipment of waste (WSR) on ships that the owner intends to discard for recycling. In particular, this relates to the definition of the term ‘waste’.