In the first week of March delegates and industry representatives have been meeting at headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to discuss air pollution from ships, ship's sewage, particularly sensitive sea areas, oil pollution response, and waste disposal at ports and at sea. Originally proposed as "scrapping of ships", "Recycling of Ships" seems a more environmentally minded euphemism.
This topic brought up the debate as to what is IMO's jurisdiction when it comes to shipping related land based industries.
Norway and the Netherlands appear to be spearheading the efforts to increase awareness of the environmental concerns of ship scrapping. They point out ships contain environmentally hazardous substances that may be present at time of scrapping. They express concern over working conditions in the yards and the lack of disposal facilities to handle such substances. India, on the other hand, questioned whether IMO should be involved and in particular the marine environment protection area. They pointed out other internationally recognized entities are already reviewing the ship recycling issue such as the Basel Convention program.
Others suggested the issue may be one of marine safety for workers who dismantle the ships. In such issues the Maritime Safety Committee should govern rather then the MEPC. Netherlands representatives suggest ship recycling should be considered and integral part of shipping. Ship owners have a responsibility for the way ships are delivered for recycling, they state and IMO must encourage responsible recycling practices. Netherlands and Norway delegations requested IMO to develop a code of conduct with guidance to owners on how to reduce the quantity of potentially hazardous components upon delivery.
More information: CQD Journal