Each year, hundreds of large ships are dismantled in much criticized conditions on the beaches of South Asia. Ships are run aground on tidal mudflats, before low-paid workers – sometimes children – dismantle them, with little personal protective equipment or heavy machinery. The practice has caused dozens of fatalities among the workers, significant pollution to the surrounding environment and populations and it has garnered strong media and NGO attention. Global Trade Union group IndustriAll has called ship breaking “the world’s most dangerous job“. In June 2016, the Commission published a thematic issue of Science for Environment Policy focusing on the impacts of ship recycling.
From a date set in the Regulation to fall between mid-2017 and 31 December 2018, large commercial seagoing vessels flying the flag of an EU Member State may be recycled only in safe and sound ship recycling facilities included in the European List of ship recycling facilities. The List was first established on 19 December 2016.
As EU regulation tightens, ships that have sailed under EU Member State flags must undergo certified demolition within the EU. At the moment, no Member State has a permanent demolition site for ships longer than 100 metres. Finland is highly competitive in this regard, as we are able to demolish even large ships in a way that is sustainable for the environment and people.
Funded by Tekes, the Ship Recycling project sets out to investigate how Finland could respond to this global challenge. The project consortium includes Turku Repair Yard, Meriaura, Delete and Industrial and Ship Cleaning Services Hans Langh. The Ship Recycling project aims to launch a ship demolition industry in Finland.
Almost a thousand ocean liners are demolished globally every year. Each ship weighs thousands of tonnes. Up to 90% of the weight consists of ship steel and other materials that can be recycled. Following the demolition, the materials can be worth millions of euros. The creation of a demolition industry would create new jobs in Finland and provide opportunities for subcontractors.
For this ship demolition project, a permit application for experimental operations has been submitted to the Regional State Administrative Agency for Southern Finland.
The operations must meet the requirements of Article 13 of the EU Ship Recycling Regulation 1257/2013 (http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32013R1257&from=EN). Article 13 includes the IMO’s ship recycling facility plan guidelines: http://www.imo.org/en/OurWork/Environment/ShipRecycling/Documents/210(63).pdf A facility that meets the requirements may apply for inclusion in the European List of ship recycling facilities: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/ships/list.htm
The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (2009) has not yet entered into force. In the EU, the Convention has, for the most part, been implemented with the so-called Ship Recycling Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 1257/2013). 22 August 2017
Hans Langh – Responsibility report 2016 (in Finnish)
Turku Repair Yard – Read more about the responsibility guidelines