EU Releases First List of Approved Ship Recyclers

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Docas, Construções e Reparações Navais, an approved facility in Portugal (file image)

By MarEx 2016-12-22 17:25:53

On December 20, the European Commission (EC) issued its first list of approved ship recycling facilities. It does not include any sites outside of Europe, and leaves the hotly debated question of beaching for a later date. Maersk Group and the European Community Shipowners’ Association support the inclusion of several South Asian beaching yards, while labor and environmental groups have pressed the EC to restrict the list to more developed facilities in the EU, Turkey and China.

"The first 18 shipyards included in the List are all located in the EU," the commission said in a statement. "They fulfill the strict requirements for inclusion in the List and as a result will have exclusive access to the recycling of ships flying the flags of Member States of the Union." The commission said that it is still reviewing applications from yards outside of the EU, and it expects to publish a second list covering foreign facilities sometime next year. 

To qualify for inclusion, a shipyard must maintain a safe and environmentally responsible facility, comply with local regulations and run its operations on "built structures." Most of the European yards on the list dismantle ships alongside a quay or in a drydock – methods that are much different from those employed at South Asian yards, which rely on driving vessels onto tidal flats and dismantling them in place.

The new EU regulation will enter into force once the annual shipbreaking capacity of all yards on the list exceeds 2.5 million LDT (or at the end of 2018 at the latest). The 18 yards on the first list have a combined maximum capacity of 1.1 million LDT, and only three of them accept vessels of Panamax length. Together, these three yards would be able to scrap about two dozen Panamax bulkers each year.  

The limited capacity reflects the EU's relatively small share of the global shipbreaking industry. In 2012, the advocacy group NGO Shipbreaking Platform recorded over 1,200 large merchant vessels scrapped worldwide. About 70 percent of the outdated tonnage went to the beaching yards of South Asia, and China and Turkey split most of the balance. European yards handled roughly two percent.