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Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Greenpeace have taken a new direction in their quest to see ship recycling become an environmentally friendly industry. At the Camomile Street offices of Norton Rose, Marcelo Furtado of Greenpeace gave a presentation to a mixed audience of lawyers, insurers, flag state representatives and the odd ship owner.

Organised by the International Marine Industries Forum (IMIF), the presentation was a world away from the usual semi-inflatable campaign that Greenpeace are synonymous with. Mr Furtado and his Dutch colleague gave an excellent presentation on the issues that Greenpeace felt needed to be addressed by the maritime community, namely the trading of toxic material, hazardous waste dumping, poor environmental management and a lack of health and safety management. Greenpeace explained that the maritime sector had a direct responsibility in the two first areas, and that improvements in these areas would help the nations in improving the latter two.

Progressing on to what Greenpeace felt the industry should be doing, they stated that only international legislation would counter this problem and that this aspect should be dealt with by the IMO. Furthermore, Greenpeace seemed to have embraced the ‘cradle to grave’ theory that has been discussed many times in the shipping industry recycling working group. A great deal of emphasis was placed on efforts by the ship building community to develop vessels which could be more effectively recycled at the end of their life in service. In addition, more forethought should be given to the substances used in current new builds in order to prevent a similar problem to the asbestos one faced today.

With a great deal of the participants coming from the City, discussion naturally moved to the question of finance. Martin Stopford (Clarksons) failed to get an answer from Greenpeace regarding the possibility that owners would be the party paying for the majority of ‘improvements’ suggested by Greenpeace and that the price per tonne would drop considerably once these initiatives were taken up. Ravi Mehrotra (Foresight Shipping) raised further questions regarding the practicalities and the extreme costs involved with gas freeing of tankers. He added that many of the breaking yards wanted the waste oil as it was essentially an added bonus that came with the vessel.

The industry working group was also commended by Greenpeace, and also ITF, for their positive and pro-active response to the issue.  Jim Davies (IMIF) summed up by suggesting that all the relevant parties involved should get around a table and discuss the issues that Greenpeace had put forward. The question is, where will they find a big enough table?