Ship recycling to be a key issue at next week’s meeting of IMO’s MEPC

The IMO’s Secretary General, Thimio Mitropoulos, has made it clear that ship recycling will be a key issue during next week’s meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) in London.

With activity on the ship recycling issue taking place in two other United Nations agencies, Basel and the International Labour Organisation, the IMO is seen as the focal point for progressing the issue and improving the safety and environmental standards at ship recycling yards around the world. For the time being, the focus will be in particular on the implementation of the IMO’s Ship Recycling Guidelines, adopted in December 2003. Industry discussion within the Ship Recycling Working Group has led to the conclusion that while shipowners have a significant role to play in actively implementing the Guidelines, there is still extensive work to be undertaken by other key players such as the recycling states and the recycling facilities.

A working group is expected to be established to consider the possibility of implementing mandatory elements of the Guidelines. The mandating of the Guidelines continues to be a core focus for Greenpeace and a number of northern European states. In addition, there are a number of other issues which need further consideration by the working group, including: a ship recycling plan (SRP); a reporting system for ships destined for recycling; the format of both the Green Passport and Hazardous Materials Inventory; the practicalities of gas-freeing ships at recycling facilities.

Following the INTERTANKO Council decision to request the provision of a Green Passport with all new buildings, the association’s Environmental Committee continued to examine the standardisation of this document at its meeting two weeks ago. The Committee aims to submit an industry-developed format for review at the MEPC meeting in July 2005.

Contact: Tim Wilkins