The 23rd Session of IMO’s Assembly has now adopted Resolution A.962 (23), ‘Guidelines onShip Recycling’. The new Guidelines, which were agreed at a meeting on 5 December 2003,have implications for newbuilds, ships in service and for vessels nearing the end of theirlife, and will encourage production of a document defining all hazardous materials found onboard, which will be known as a ‘Green Passport’.
Historically, ship scrapping practices have not been particularly environmentally sound, and recent legislation, such as that found in the Basel Convention, has defined the export of ships for scrap that contain hazardous materials, as exporting ‘toxic waste’ – which is illegal withoutinter-governmental consent. But it does not have to be this way. Carried out correctly, shiprecycling can help contribute to a cleaner, greener environment. IMO has long recognised the impact of shipbreaking on the environment, and has identified ship recycling as one of the basic principles of sustainable development – after all, ninety-six percent of components on a ship are recyclable, with scrap steel requiring just one-third of the energy to convert it back to ‘new steel’ when compared to working with raw materials. In addition, machinery components such as generators and pumps can be re-used in future projects.
All aspects of ship recycling are covered in detail in the Guidelines, and these will require ownersand operators to maintain records at each of the following stages of the vessels lifecycle:
- Newbuilds: The process will start at the design and contract negotiation stage, with shipyards and designers being encouraged to use alternatives to hazardous materials, as much as possible from the start. This means creative designers will be able to innovate with new materials to create not only a safer, but a more readily recyclable ship. Ideally, a ‘Green Passport’ detailing any hazardous materials used during construction, will be created at this time.
- In service: creation of a ‘Green Passport’ for existing ships, detailing any hazardous materials used during construction of the ship together with identification of operationally produced wastes will be maintained.
- Ships due to be scrapped: creation of a ‘Ship Recycling Plan’, contents of which will include the onus on the owner/operator to identify a suitable recycling facility.