Thursday, December 3, 2020

Ship Recycling in Europe Still Needs to be Improved Says Shipping Association

BIMCO States EU Rules Still Not Meeting the Mark
Shipping News Feature

EUROPE – The world's largest international shipping association, BIMCO, has issued an updated report which considers the EU’s failure to properly deal with the problem of scrapping old ships at the end of their service lives.

The report acknowledges that progress has been made with the EU increasing the number of yards licensed to dismantle and recycle vessels to the appropriate environmental standards. However, they say that the EU’s rules still don’t reflect commercial realities and lag behind on the available, quality capacity to scrap large commercial ships. BIMCO Secretary General David Loosley, said of the report’s findings:

“It is positive that the EU list of approved recycling facilities has been expanded, but the fundamental problem persists, the capacity required for the large EU-flagged fleet simply isn’t there, which is especially evident when it comes to recycling Panamax-size and larger ships in accordance with the EU regulation”.

According to BIMCO, Turkey is effectively the only country meeting the EU’s standards that is capable of recycling Panamax sized ships. However, at present Turkish yards are occupied with scrapping excess cruise ships, and therefore not able to handle other ship types.

BIMCO states that the lack of sufficient recycling capability puts ship owners in a situation where they are unable to recycle their ships at yards on the list, leaving them no alternative than to reflag their ageing ships to flag states outside the EU, thus enabling them to scrap in countries where standards are often unacceptably low should they choose to do so.

The organisation also points out that because of the disparity in steel values, shipyards in Europe actually lose money on scrap. This compares poorly to recycling in Indian yards, where the steel is used to construct new ships, but the working practices outside the vetted European approved yards often simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

Indian ship breakers, and indeed those in Pakistan and Bangladesh, have a notoriously terrible reputation in terms of worker safety and environmental protection. However BIMCO’s report points out at least one Indian yard has been found to meet EU standards, and that others need to be examined to see if they too now reach the expected standards.

Photo: Courtesy of the Basel Action Network (BAN) which is dedicated to end the practice of dangerous shipbreaking and is a member of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.