Outcome of MEPC 53 on ship recycling

Further to our report on the outcome of the inter-sessional meeting on ship recycling last week, MEPC 53 proceeded to formally adopt a resolution agreeing that the IMO would press forward with the development of a legally binding instrument to regulate ship recycling. The instrument would cover the design, construction and operation of ships as well as preparation for the delivery of a ship prior to recycling. In the framework of the legal instrument, ship recycling facilities would also be regulated to ensure safe and environmentally sound recycling. This resolution will now be formally adopted by the IMO’s Assembly in November this year. A provisional timetable has also been provided which aims for a draft instrument to be ready by 2007, with a view to final adoption at a diplomatic conference during 2008-2009.

Two other elements related to ship recycling were also completed this week. A resolution was approved urging ship owners, ship recycling facilities and member states to consider the matter of gas-freeing vessels, tankers in particular, in preparation for recycling. Although it encourages ship owners to deliver vessels with a gas-free for hot-work certificate, it recognises that it is the main responsibility of the ship recycling facility to ensure that those tanks which have been certified are maintained in the gas-free state. This decision was instigated chiefly by the pressure to ensure that the predicted increase in single-hull tanker scrapping would not lead directly to an increase in incidents related to hot-work in volatile areas.  

Secondly, and recognising that there is still some time between now and the completion of a mandatory instrument, MEPC agreed to a list of amendments to the IMO’s Ship Recycling Guidelines. The majority of these amendments were proposed by the shipping industry in an attempt to make the Guidelines more practical. This will be released as an MEPC Circular later his year. 

Links to the three documents (draft only) will be provided on the Ship Recycling section of the INTERTANKO website following the end of the Committee’s meeting. 

Contact: Tim Wilkins