IMO Assembly adopts Recycling Guidelines

The IMO Assembly this week reviewed the work of the various IMO Committees with particularly significant issues discussed during the report from the Marine Environment Protection Committee. This saw the adoption of the Guidelines for Ship Recycling and also a further debate on the issue of a Western European Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA).

Although a long debate took place regarding the Guidelines on Ship Recycling and the question over whether they should be made mandatory or not, the Assembly agreed to adopt them as a voluntary instrument for the time being. The Assembly has, however, instructed the MEPC to look further into the possibility of mandating the Guidelines and requested a pro’s and con’s list on the subject of mandatory versus voluntary requirements.

A key point in the debate raised by INTERTANKO, ICS and the delegation of Panama focused on the fact that the Guidelines were an opportunity for the industry to demonstrate its ability to self regulate. This point was raised in a melee of requests to mandate the Guidelines immediately, seemingly removing any trust in the shipping industry to implement voluntary requirements. Together with this, there were issues within the Guidelines which the industry representatives, illustrated in a joint industry submission, felt could not be successfully implemented, whether the Guidelines were mandatory or voluntary. MEPC will now review the issues raised by the industry. It is now essential for the shipping sector to demonstrate its ability to work with and implement voluntary Guidelines before further support is gathered for the adoption of a mandatory instrument.

INTERTANKO’s Environmental Committee discussed this issue at its last meeting and will now assist all members in implementing the requirements of the Guidelines, including the development of a hazardous materials inventory and providing further information on recycling facilities around the world.

On the subject of designating the Western European waters as a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA), a lengthy debate was held regarding the applicability of this area under the current IMO Guidelines for designation of PSSA’s. As it had already been agreed in principle by the MEPC, the Assembly approved the designation of the area but it will still be subject to further discussion at the 52nd meeting of the MEPC in October 2004. This is following a review of the 48hr reporting requirement which has been implemented as an associated protective measure to aid in the protection of the PSSA. Furthermore, the Assembly has now requested the MEPC to also review the Guidelines for the designation of PSSA’s. Please refer to previous articles on the issue

Click here for the Submission on Recycling

Contact: Tim Wilkins