According to the current legislation (the Waste Shipment Regulation1),
the EU flagged ships which are going for dismantling are hazardous waste
and can only be dismantled within the OECD. This legislation is almost
systematically circumvented by EU flagged ships2.
Currently, most EU controlled ships are indeed dismantled in Asia
(India, Pakistan and Bangladesh), usually through "beaching" method and
with significant environmental and health impacts.
This widespread non-compliance is firstly linked with the lack of
recycling capacity available within the OECD in particular for the
largest ships. Developing capacity within the OECD has not been feasible
in particular because of the lack of economic viability. The
is also partially driven by the interest of shipowners to avoid the
costs of environmentally and socially acceptable dismantling in OECD
facilities, and partially by the ease with which the legislation can be
avoided: EU shipowners can with limited effort maximise the profit from
selling their old vessels by choosing a non-EU jurisdiction for their
vessels at the end of the life of the ships.
The Commission adopted a Green Paper on better ship dismantling in 2007
and a Communication proposing an EU strategy on ship dismantling3 in
2008. This strategy proposed measures to improve ship dismantling
conditions as soon as possible, including in the interim period before
the entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention4: i.e. preparing the
establishment of measures on key elements of the Convention, encouraging
voluntary industry action, providing technical assistance and support
to developing countries and better enforcing the current legislation.
The Commission also announced that it would look at the feasibility of
developing a certification and audit scheme for ship recycling
facilities worldwide, addressing also navy ships and other government
vessels not covered by the Hong Kong Convention and establishing a
mandatory international funding system for clean ship
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