Ireland’s Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD, has today welcomed the agreement reached with the European Parliament on the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, heralding it as an important instrument to achieve the safe and environmentally sound recycling of EU ships at end-of-life.
This new regulation will establish a list of EU approved ship recycling facilities requiring high standards to ensure that EU flagged ships are properly recycled and that waste materials contained therein are properly managed throughout the recycling process, preventing negative environmental impacts while also safeguarding the health of workers in the facilities.
The EU regulation is the first legislative instrument adopted at regional level in respect of this significant waste stream containing hazardous substances.
Minister Hogan said:
“Up to now, EU ships have generally been dismantled and recycled at sub-standard sites operating to low standards in 3rd countries. From the date of application of this regulation, this practice will now have to cease in respect of EU-flagged ships. Ships will instead have to be properly recycled in approved facilities operating to high environmental and worker safety standards.”
Minister Hogan - "I am confident that the new regulation will be effective and make a positive contribution to the proper recycling of EU ships which can be followed globally."
“I would also hope that this new EU regulation will act as an important stimulus to facilitate the early ratification of the Hong Kong Convention on Ship Recycling which was adopted in 2009 and that, on foot of this EU initiative, other global regions will follow the EU lead in respect of this important waste stream” added the Minister.
The agreement reached concludes 6 months of intensive negotiations under the Irish EU Presidency.
Minister Hogan said: “I would like to acknowledge the commitment and efforts of my Presidency team in helping to conclude this agreement under our EU Presidency. I would also like to thank the European Parliament Rapporteur, Carl Schlyter for his constructive engagement in the negotiations. I am confident that the new regulation will be effective and make a positive contribution to the proper recycling of EU ships which can be followed globally.”
Minister Hogan also paid tribute to the work undertaken by the two previous EU Presidencies (Denmark and Cyprus) before the Irish Presidency took on the responsibility of securing agreement.
Note for editors
Contrary to most other waste streams, ships generally have a significant financial value at end-of-life. Steel is the main material extracted in the recycling process but ships also contain many hazardous substances – including asbestos, heavy metals, PCBs etc – when deposited for recycling, hence the need for proper worker health and safety standards and appropriate facilities and equipment in the dismantling of ships. The new EU ship recycling regime comprises the following main elements:
- EU ship owners will be required to only recycle ships at facilities on the EU approved list, either in the EU or in third countries;
- in order to be on the EU approved list, ship recycling facilities must comply with the minimum requirements of the regulation as to worker health and safety procedures and environmental protection;
- ship recycling facilities shall be approved by national authorities in the case of EU facilities and by independent verifiers with appropriate qualifications in the case of non-EU facilities. Such non-EU facilities shall remain open to inspection by EU inspectors in order to verify their ongoing compliance with the requirements of the regulation;
- ships shall be required to maintain an inventory of hazardous materials on board at all times;
- ships entering EU ports shall be open to inspections by port state control authorities to verify the maintenance of the inventory;
- EU ships shall be subject to surveys at 5-yearly intervals after being put in service;
- owners of EU ships will be required to engage an approved ship recycling facility to prepare a “ship recycling plan” prior to recycling, such plan to include how hazardous materials in the ship structure are to be managed and which shall be submitted to the flag state administration;
- flag state administrations shall issue a “ready for recycling” certificate before authorising the recycling of EU ships, having - (i) verified that the hazardous materials inventory has been properly maintained, (ii) approved the ship recycling plan, and (iii) verified that the ship recycling facility where the ship is to be recycled is included in the EU approved list;
- the ship recycling facility shall confirm the completion of the recycling of the ship to the EU flag state administration.