Owners slammed for spreading fake news on green recycling capacity

Owners slammed for spreading fake news on green recycling capacity

Shipowner claims that there will not be enough EU-approved ship recycling capacity following China’s exit from the international ship recycling scene at the end of this year has been rubbished by NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

China, the world leader in green ship recycling, surprised the shipping industry last month announcing it would stop accepting overseas ships for scrapping as part of an ongoing environmental clampdown on importing waste materials.

On Monday, the EU member states’ experts on ship recycling met in Brussels to discuss the latest developments, six months ahead of the application of the 2013 Ship Recycling Regulation.

Following Beijing’s surprise decision, many within shipping have since suggested that the standard set by the EU must be lowered so that beaching yards can be approved.

However, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform has calculated that the facilities which are currently on the list, the 21 EU-based ones only, are in fact sufficient to recycle the entire EU-flagged fleet at end-of-life.

Moreover, there are still other facilities outside the EU, as well as those operating in Italy and Norway, which are expected to be included on the list before the application of the regulation.

Indian beaching yards that have applied to be on the EU list will not be included as there is no way for these yards to comply with the requirements of the regulation as long as ships are beached.

“The overall capacity and sizes of all the facilities that are compliant with EU law will easily accommodate the recycling needs of EU-flagged ships by 1 January 2019. The scaremongering of the shipping industry therefore needs to be debunked, and the European Commission should not bow-down to the ‘fake news’ spread by the ship owners,” the NGO stated in a release yesterday.

SeaEurope, IndustriAll Europe and the NGO Shipbreaking Platform have urged that a financial incentive is needed to push more shipowners towards clean and safe ship recycling. French trade Union CGT also recently called upon the French government to support the development of ship recycling capacity in the Mediterranean.

“With China potentially leaving the international market of ship recycling already next year, there is a clear opportunity for other regions to tailor for clean and safe ship recycling off the beach,” the NGO maintained.

“The EU should aim at ensuring that the European shipping industry no longer causes harm to the environment and workers on the South Asian beaches. 30% of end-of-life ships are owned by European companies – compared to only 6% registered under an EU flag. There will be a need to support the expansion of existing or building of new facilities to ensure the clean and safe recycling of the many larger vessels that are owned by European companies,” said Ingvild Jenssen, director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “Circular economy is the buzzword and a return scheme for ships is the solution”, she added.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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