INTERTANKO: Progress on Ship Recycling

Friday, December 09, 2005
INTERTANKO welcomes the IMO Assembly’s decision to develop mandatory measures on ship recycling. We will continue to provide support and guidance (from our members as well as from our secretariat) to the IMO during the development of the legally binding instrument, as we have done to MEPC 53 during the development of the Industry Code of Practice on Ship Recycling and the IMO’s Guidelines on Ship Recycling.

As part of the ongoing effort to alleviate through international regulation the current environmental and worker health and safety problems at ship recycling facilities, INTERTANKO’s members will be able to offer feedback based on practical, hands-on experience gained by the actual implementation of these Guidelines and the Code of Practice.

INTERTANKO fully supports the proactive stance taken by the IMO on this issue. We believe that such an IMO lead sends a clear signal to both the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Basel Convention Conference of Parties (COP) that, while there is work to be done on the shipping side, there is also still considerable work to be done on the shore side, at the recycling facilities as well as with the governments who regulate them, to reduce damage to the environment as well as to improve worker health and safety.

There is no current international legal instrument covering the recycling of ships. We therefore expect that this move by the IMO to reinforce the progress being made in the shipping industry will be welcomed by the Basel Convention COP and the ILO when the three organisations meet this week in Geneva to discuss progress on this issue.

The next step is that of developing as soon as possible similar codes of practice, and possibly a legally binding international instrument, for the ship recycling yards, with the ILO taking a leading role. This would greatly improve the worldwide availability of facilities with quality and environmental management systems in place, where the recycling of vessels can be undertaken in a controlled and sustainable manner.

Largely based on the original Industry Code of Practice completed in 2001, the IMO Guidelines on Ship Recycling are the foundation for the shipping industry’s ongoing work on ship recycling. Many tanker operators currently carry, or are developing, both Green Passports and/or Hazardous Materials Inventories. INTERTANKO’s Environmental Committee believes that a proactive role in sharing our experiences on these and other practical, operational aspects related to the IMO’s Guidelines will help build a stronger foundation on which to develop a practical and effective mandatory instrument

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