NGO Shipbreaking Platform Demands European Ship Recycling Licence

In a position paper published today, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform calls on the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States to support the introduction of a financial mechanism that will enhance safe and environmentally sound ship recycling in line with the standard set by the European Ship Recycling Regulation. The NGO Shipbreaking Platform asks the EC to develop a legislative proposal in order to implement the polluter pays principle for ship owners with a European Ship Recycling Licence.

“Ship owners are all up in arms against an EU Ship Recycling License. A surprise? No. The shipping industry has been on the go for the last 15 years trying hard to fight off regulation that would really hold them accountable for dirty and dangerous shipbreaking practices. Now it is finally time to act!”, says Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

Representation Image - Credits:
Representation Image – Credits:

Already 20 years ago, the human rights abuses and pollution caused by unsustainable shipbreaking practices were first raised at the international level, in public fora and in the media. In 2015, Bangladesh, where conditions are known to be worst, was again the ship owners’ preferred destination for breaking large ocean-going ships. It is therefore high time to hold the shipping industry accountable for the proper recycling of end-of-life ships. The Platform calls for effective solutions that end the dangerous and dirty breaking of ships on the beaches of South Asia and finally initiate the transition of the industry towards clean and safe methods globally. A European measure that applies to all ships calling at EU ports and is flag neutral is necessary to increase environmental and social protection during end-of-life management and to ensure that ship owners have to internalise the costs.

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform therefore calls

  • on the European Commission, the European Parliament and Member States to support a legislative proposal that introduces an effective financial incentive in line with the polluter pays principle that supports clean and safe ship recycling;
  • upon the EU and Member States to ensure that European shipping companies follow EU environmental law and do not resort to end-of-life practices that would never be allowed in Europe, in particular the dismantling of end-of-life ships in the intertidal zone of a beach;
  • on Member States to support the transposition of the efforts made at the European level, that is, a quality standard for ship recycling, the EU List of approved ship recycling facilities and a financial incentive similar to the ship recycling licence, to the international level.


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