Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Disgrace of Ship Dismantling Must End as EU Regulation Comes into Force and New Platform Launched

Sustainable Shipping Initiative Gives Credit to Responsible Vessel Owners
Shipping News Feature
WORLDWIDE – Five years ago the EU proposed that vessels registered in the European Union would have to be dismantled using suitable ecologically friendly and safe certified facilities. As from 31 December 2018, large commercial seagoing vessels flying the flag of an EU Member State may be recycled only in sites included in the European List of ship recycling facilities. However alternatively flagged vessels can be dismantled anywhere and we have often described the appalling conditions that workers, including children, toil under, particularly in south east Asia.

The EU Regulation brings forward the requirements of the IMO’s 2009 Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, in the hope that the 15 states which represent 40% of the global fleet which are required to ratify it might stop prevaricating. 24 months after this happens the legislation can enter into force, something the EU says its new regulation will encourage.

Now shipping industry leaders and the non-profit organisation the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI) have joined together to announce the launch of the Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative's (SRTI) online platform, a tool for sharing information on ship recycling to drive responsible practice.

The platform comes nine months after a group of shipping companies first announced their collective effort to use the market-drivers that transparency brings to make responsible ship recycling the norm. Demanding transparency is intended to hold the shipping industry to account, raising the bar for current practice as well as creating fair competition among ship owners.

In 2017, 835 ships were recycled out of a world fleet of 50,000. Despite the known risks associated with ship recycling, there is no global regulation currently in force, resulting in approaches ranging from those with adverse social and environmental consequences to responsible ship recycling practices, which this initiative aims to shed light on.

Increased transparency into ship recycling policies and practices of shipping companies, should make it possible for the industry stakeholders, which includes shippers, lenders, investors and insurers, to make informed decisions. The importance of such decisions is increasing with the growing expectation for companies to take responsibility for their value chain sustainability. Responsible ship recycling is good for brand value, protecting reputation and good for business, and is key to being recognised as a responsible and sustainable shipping industry.

The SRTI, hosted by the SSI brings together leading ship-owners, investors, banks, insurers, cargo owners and other key stakeholders from across the maritime industry. Its founding signatories include ship owners such as The China Navigation Company, Hapag-Lloyd, AP Moeller-Maersk, Norden, Stolt Tankers and Wallenius Wilhelmsen; financial stakeholders GES, Nykredit and Standard Chartered Bank; classification society Lloyd’s Register; and sustainability non-profit outfit Forum for the Future. SSI Co-Chair Stephanie Draper, commented:

“We are really proud to be launching the SRTI site this week. At the SSI we see responsible ship recycling as a critical issue that needs to be addressed through smart interventions like increasing transparency. The SRTI is an opportunity for ship owners, cargo owners, investors and others to collectively demand transparency and through that better standards. We think that the industry can lead by working across the supply chain to change itself and it is great to be shaping this positive example of that.”

The SRTI is neither a standard nor a rating tool. It is an online platform that shipping companies can use to disclose relevant information on ship recycling. The information provided tells its own story and is available to the industry stakeholders, as well as the broader public. The platform creates an onus for stakeholders to use the SRTI for both more informed decision-making, as well as for greater transparency. Andrew Stephens, Executive Director of the SSI, said:

“The SRTI is unique in that it tells a positive story, shedding light on what is actually possible in terms of responsible ship recycling. We have seen what transparency has done in other sectors, in some cases prompting immediate and transformative change.

“Knowledge is power, and with knowledge comes responsibility. We believe that through the simple act of companies being transparent about their approach to ship recycling, we can support improved policy, practice and performance, from the cradle to the grave. With the information disclosed through the SRTI online platform investors and cargo owners can reduce reputational and brand risk, and be accountable for their supply chain.”