Ship recycling

Conditions for ship recycling are generally sub-standard, especially from the work environment perspective, at shipyards engaged in this type of activity in countries including India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Ships are scrapped on beaches by workers without any kind of protective equipment. Scrapping of ships was discontinued in Europe in the 1970s. In order to improve conditions for ship recycling, the entire operating life of the ship must be taken into account.

Resolution A.962(23) Guidelines on Ship Recycling

The IMO adopted Resolution A.962(23) Guidelines on Ship Recycling on 23 December 2003. The guidelines describe procedures for encouraging recycling when new ships are built. Preparations for recycling ships and ship equipment can be made in the design and construction stages. Preparation may extend to evaluation of the type, quantity and potential risks of the materials used, the location of the material onboard the ship and options for dealing with any generation of hazardous waste through e.g., installing technology that produces less waste. The guidelines also mention a “Green Passport” to facilitate recycling of ships. It is meant to follow the ship throughout its operating life and provide information about potentially hazardous construction materials, equipment and systems.

MEPC/Circ. 419, Guidelines for the Development of the Ship Recycling Plan provides further technical information and guidance on how a ship recycling plan, SRP, should be written (recommendation in section 8.3.2 of Resolution A.962(23) IMO Guidelines on Ship Recycling).

Recycling facilities and ship-owners are encouraged to use the parts applicable to their situations.

The International Convention on Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships

IMO is currently developing a Convention providing globally applicable ship recycling regulations for international shipping and for recycling activities. An ad hoc diplomatic conference is to take place in Hong Kong, China, from 11 to 15 May 2009, to consider for adoption the new international convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships.

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) approved the text of the draft ship recycling convention for adoption at a conference in 2009, when it met for its 58th session in July 2008.

The new convention will provide regulations for the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling, without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships; the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner; and the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling, incorporating certification and reporting requirements.

Ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, specific to each ship, while an appendix to the convention will provide a list of hazardous materials whose installation or use in ships is prohibited or restricted in shipyards, ship repair yards, and ships of parties to the future convention. Ships will have to have an initial survey to verify the inventory of hazardous materials, surveys during the life of the ship, and a final survey prior to recycling.

Ship recycling yards will be required to provide a "Ship Recycling Plan", to specify the manner in which each ship will be recycled, depending on its particulars and its inventory. Parties will be required to take effective measures to ensure that ship recycling facilities under their jurisdiction comply with the convention.

A series of guidelines are being developed to assist in the implementation of the new convention while the entry into force criteria for the convention (number of States required and percentage of gross merchant shipping tonnage) will be decided by the 2009 conference when formally adopting the proposed convention.