Today, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an own initiative opinion that calls on the European Commission to introduce an incentive that will “eliminate the abuses of irresponsible ship dismantling through a system which creates added value in an end-of-life ship”. SEA Europe, IndustriAll Europe and the NGO Shipbreaking Platform join the EESC in supporting an incentive that will make sure ships are recycled in a safe and environmentally sound manner.
“European ship recycling companies are competitive with regards to sustainability and should be encouraged by an enabling public policy that will push ship owners towards the use of these facilities as well as enhance R&D towards more cost effective solutions in Europe,” says Christophe Tytgat, Secretary General of SEA Europe.
The aim of a financial incentive is to make sure that ship owners use the upcoming EU list of approved ship recycling facilities and do not simply circumvent the EU Ship Recycling Regulation by flagging out to a non-EU ship registry. The EESC opinion supports a financial incentive that recognises the responsibility of the ship owner through the ‘polluter pays principle’ and builds the cost of responsible recycling into ship operating costs.
“The social and environmental impacts of shipbreaking on the beaches of South Asia can no longer be viewed as an externality and should be accounted for in shipping companies’ individual accounts. Introducing a financial incentive at the EU level is feasible and in line with established legal principles. It also brings with it the promise of ensuring compliance with environmental and social standards aimed at improving ship recycling conditions globally”, says Ingvild Jenssen, Policy Director and Founder of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
Ensuring sustainable ship recycling fits well with the EU’s aim of achieving a truly circular economy where valuable resources are not only reused, but also recycled in a safe and environmentally sound manner. The EU list of ship recycling facilities will function as an important market differentiator for yards that have already invested in proper occupational health, safety and environmental standards.
“Shipbreaking on the beaches of South Asia is considered by the ILO as one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. Incentivising sustainable practices is necessary for the creation of decent jobs in the ship recycling sector,” says Luis Colunga, Deputy General Secretary of IndustriALL Europe.