26 September 2018
European shipowners encourage and support Commission’s current inspections of ship recycling facilities
The European Shipping industry welcomes the European Commission’s current inspections of ship recycling facilities in order to enlarge the list of approved facilities that will ensure safe and environmentally sound ship recycling. When non EU facilities such as Indian facilities are found to be compliant with the requirements, they should be included in the EU list, as it will facilitate and encourage further positive developments taking place in South Asia and worldwide.
Figures on capacity reveal a shortage of capacity for EU flagged vessels
By 31st December 2018 all ships flying a European flag have to be recycled in a facility which is included in the European list. “A lot has been written lately on whether or not the current list meets the capacity needs for the European flagged fleet to be recycled in a safe and environmentally sound way” said Martin Dorsman, Secretary General of the European Community of Shipowners’ Associations, ECSA. ”We were and still are worried that there is not enough capacity and certainly welcome the Commission’s current efforts to enlarge the list”, he added.
Average needed capacity not a proper criterion
The European Commission recently published its explanatory note together with calculations carried out by the European Maritime Safety Agency EMSA. In the covering Commission paper it is stated that the average tonnage of EU flagged vessels recycled is 588.000 LDT. The average tonnage of ships that changed flag from an EU flag is 432.000 LDT. This makes around 1.020.000 LDT as the average over the 5 years examined (2013-2017). The EU Ship Recycling Regulation (SRR) does not define capacity as the average LDT recycled in a 10 year period, but the maximum recycled in any year of the last 10 years. This is done to make sure that the European list can provide enough capacity for the busiest years too.
Needed capacity close to 2.000.000 LDT
The busiest year out of the five years examined was 2013 when 989.000 LDT of EU flagged ships were recycled and 635.000 LDT of ships that changed flags from an EU flag within the last year. This makes 1.624.000 LDT for 2013.
2012 was the busiest year in ship recycling over the last 10 years, as can be seen in documents widely available (IMO, IHS and Dr. N Mikelis). 2012 was busier than 2013 by 23 % in terms of GT. Increasing the 2013 figure of 1.624.000 LDT by 23% would lead to 1.998.000 LDT. This is much higher than the available capacity however calculated that is now available.
“The European shipowners wish is to ensure safe and sound recycling of their ships in economically viable way. In case the recycling yards in the European list will have capacity enough for our shipowners end-of life ships, they would welcome the news of course”, concluded Dorsman.
EU yards not only active in ship recycling but also in ship repair and conversions
EU facilities and/or dry docks are not available in the market for ship owners to use for recycling purposes of their sea-going vessels. European yards focus more on ship repair and off-shore works. This should also be taken into account when looking at available capacity.
Only very few EU yards capable of recycling bigger vessels
In addition to the lack of capacity in the yards on the EU list currently, there are also not enough adequate facilities to recycle the largest sea-going vessels. Only one yard can accommodate the biggest ocean going vessels, a yard that is also active in other activities such as ship repair. This means that the yard might not be available if an EU shipowners wants to contract the yard for the recycling of a large vessel. That leaves the shipowner with no other choice than to look for a ship recycling yard not yet on the EU list.
Geographical spread over ship recycling yards is needed
Many vessels operated by EU shipowners, whether EU flagged or not, sail all over the world and never call at EU ports. This makes it necessary that for those vessels recycling yards are globally available. Sailing a vessel that did not trade in Europe from e.g. Asia to Europe only for recycling is expensive and creates a competitive disadvantage for EU shipowners.
The EU Commission should urgently provide the European shipping industry, operating on a global level, with a list which is geographically well-balanced.
Ratification of the Hong Kong Convention is key to improving the working and environmental conditions of the global ship recycling industry
European shipowners strongly support the ratification of the Hong Kong convention as the best way to improve the working and environmental conditions of the global ship recycling industry. European shipowners, together with shipowners from all over the world, urgently ask governments that did not yet do so to ratify the Hong Kong convention.
In addition, as it is stated in the EU SRR, including non-EU facilities that meet the EU SRR requirements on the EU list will facilitate States to ratify the Hong Kong Convention.
 Light displacement tonnes.
European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) press release