EU Shipping Law

Page 1198


European Union law relating to ship dismantling and recycling

A. Introduction

24.001 While there is usually publicity surrounding the launching or maiden voyage of vessels, there is usually little coverage about the dismantling of vessels. In reality, the dismantling of vessels can have dramatic consequences: for example, employees working on the dismantling exercise can be injured, infected or killed due to the poor working conditions in so-called “breaker’s yards” which could be nothing more than beaches. It is therefore not surprising that the world community and the European Union (“EU”) have become concerned about ship dismantling. Given the significant environmental dimension then it is also not surprising that the notion that ships (or parts of ships) could be recycled has also come into focus. This chapter considers the interrelated issues of ship dismantling and ship recycling.

B. Ship dismantling

24.002 Ship dismantling could occur anywhere in the world but would often occur in South Asia. Sometimes, the process is undertaken in proper breaker’s yards or shipyards but it could well be that it would occur simply on a beach. Vessels are deliberately run aground on the beach (typically on tidal mudflats) and then workers (including child labourers) climb on board to dismantle the vessels. There is little proper equipment or protective clothing to undertake the work and, moreover, little safety equipment available to the workers. There are frequent injuries and even fatalities. The world has reacted with some concern but the practice still continues.

C. Ship recycling


24.003 Ships almost invariably have to be dismantled because not every ship can remain intact. So, the logical next step is to consider whether all or parts of ships can be recycled. Some parts are clearly capable of recycling while other parts are not suitable for recycling.

Page 1199

International level

24.004 At an international level, the 2009 Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (the “Hong Kong Convention”) is aimed at encouraging safe and sustainable recycling of ships.1 The Hong Kong Convention was adopted on 15 May 2009. It is designed to enter into force 24 months after ratification by 15 States which represent 40% of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, and has a combined maximum annual ship recycling volume not less than 3% cent of their combined tonnage. 24.005 Recital 4 to Regulation 1257/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 on ship recycling and amending Regulation 1013/2006 and Directive 2009/16 gives some background to the Hong Kong Convention:

“The Hong Kong Convention was adopted on 15 May 2009 under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization. The Hong Kong Convention will enter into force only 24 months after the date of ratification by at least 15 states representing a combined merchant fleet of at least 40 per cent of the gross tonnage of the world’s merchant shipping and whose combined maximum annual ship recycling volume during the preceding 10 years constitutes not less than three per cent of the gross tonnage of the combined merchant shipping of the same states. That Convention covers the design, the construction, the operation and the preparation of ships with a view to facilitating safe and environmentally sound recycling without compromising ship safety and operational efficiency. It also covers the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner, and the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling.”

The rest of this document is only available to i-law.com online subscribers.

If you are already a subscriber, click Log In button.

Copyright © 2024 Maritime Insights & Intelligence Limited. Maritime Insights & Intelligence Limited is registered in England and Wales with company number 13831625 and address 5th Floor, 10 St Bride Street, London, EC4A 4AD, United Kingdom. Lloyd's List Intelligence is a trading name of Maritime Insights & Intelligence Limited.

Lloyd's is the registered trademark of the Society Incorporated by the Lloyd's Act 1871 by the name of Lloyd's.