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Brussels, 28 June 2013
Statement by Environment Commissioner Potočnik on the outcome of the trilogue on the Ship Recycling Regulation
"I welcome the outcome of the trilogue on the new Ship Recycling Regulation, which marks a major step towards more sustainable recycling of ships around the world. The new legislation will make it possible to legally recycle EU ships outside the OECD, but only in facilities that meet minimum environmentally requirements. Ship owners will be able to choose such facilities from an EU list at a reasonable price. I am convinced it will reduce the illegal practices currently blighting the industry, which will become more responsible and environmentally friendly as a result. It will also lead to investment in improving facilities to meet the new demand for better standards"
Under the present legislation, all European ships have to be recycled inside the OECD, as they are classified as hazardous waste and therefore banned from export under the Waste Shipment Regulation. But the ban has not worked well. It was regularly circumvented in practice as ships are highly mobile even when they reach the end of their commercial life, and a lack of recycling capacity in the OECD and attractive prices for metal scrap in Asia meant that they are simply reflagged. As a result, most European ships are dismantled in Asia in poor facilities, causing significant environmental pollution at a high cost to human health. The use of child labour was also regularly documented.
The new Regulation implements the rules of the 2009 Hong Kong Convention for the safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The Regulation aims to improve ship recycling conditions for EU-flagged ships worldwide by prompting the upgrade of ship recycling facilities to the standards included in the Regulation. This is done by providing a number of requirements to be met by ship recycling facilities which want to recycle EU-flagged ships. Facilities meeting such requirements will be able to apply for inclusion in the European List of ship recycling facilities, and if they are satisfactory, they will receive a green light to recycle European vessels. In addition, ships will have to carry on board an inventory of hazardous materials which will enable the recycling facilities to dismantle them safely. This will advance the practical implementation of the standards of the Hong Kong Convention in anticipation of its entry into force.
The Commission will look into further means to incentivise the use of higher standard facilities, and is invited in the proposal to report on the possibilities for a fund for this purpose.