Proposed updates to shipbreaking from the European Commission will benefit ship recyclers in Turkey, China and Europe.
The Maritime Executive reported that a beaching ban by the European Commission would mean that EU flagged ships could only be recycled in Turkey or China. All facilities in Turkey are expected to apply for the list of approved ship recycling facilities, which the European Commission will publish by mid-2016. In order to become EU-listed, however, Turkish recyclers will have to address issues such as persisting gaps in occupational health and safety provisions.
In 2014 fewer than four per cent of ships were recycled in European facilities. According to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, 641 of the 1,026 ocean-going ships recycled in 2014 were taken apart in south Asia, on beaches in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
As detailed by Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, in an article for Occupational Safety Asia, factors contributing to the high numbers of accidents and fatalities in south Asia’s shipbreaking industry included a lack of: personal protective equipment, training and heavy lifting equipment.
While breaking up ships in South Asia may cost less money, the deficit is picked up in the cost to the environment and in human lives. As if this weren’t enough, the PR cost, too, is starting to mount.
Peter Wyntin, head of recycling at the Galloo shipbreaking yard in Ghent, Belguim, said: “Large companies have started to come here – they just can’t afford the bad press any more of dismantling ships on some beach.”