NGOs support EU Parliament Environment Committee call for ship recycling fund and off-the-beach stance.
NGOs have applauded a breakthrough vote by a large majority of Members of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament (ENVI), across all political groups, to create a Europe-wide ship recycling fund, an economic incentive to finance environmentally sound ship recycling and internalise the costs of proper hazardous waste management.
The fund is supported by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a global coalition of 18 environmental, human rights and labour rights organisations working for safer and cleaner ship recycling practices worldwide.
The idea, which was pushed forward by the Rapporteur Carl Schlyter, a Swedish MEP from the Greens-EFA group, is to have all ships calling at EU ports pay a fee into the fund, which will disburse premiums for safe and sound ship recycling in carefully vetted EU-listed facilities. The fund should eliminate the price gap to substandard facilities located on beaches in non-OECD countries where shipowners currently obtain the highest prices for their end-of-life ships, even when shipbreaking workers are killed and suffer from occupational diseases caused by the toxic materials present in these ships.
Moreover, the NGOs welcome the groundbreaking decision to outlaw beaching, the polluting and dangerous practice of breaking ships on tidal beaches.
“This EU regulation can be the first supra-national legally-binding rule which prohibits beaching,” says Patrizia Heidegger, the Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “In the future, beaching must be replaced by safer methods in all countries, as has been agreed upon by the international community in the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Wastes and their Disposal.”