Extracts from the press conference by Janez Potočnik on ship recycling regulation
Type: Summary of press conference
End production: 23/03/2012 First transmission: 23/03/2012
On 23 March 2012, the European Commission proposed new rules to ensure that European ships are only recycled in facilities that are safe for workers and environmentally sound.
On this occasion, Janez Potočnik, Member of the EC in charge of Environment, developed this topic at a press conference in Brussels.
More than 1000 large old commercial ships, such as tankers and container vessels, are recycled for their scrap metal every year, but many European ships end up in substandard facilities on the tidal beaches of South Asia. These facilities mostly lack the environmental protection and safety measures needed to manage the hazardous materials contained in end-of-life ships. These include asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), tributyl tin and oil sludge. This leads to high accident rates and health risks for workers and extensive environmental pollution.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Arrival of Janez Potočnik, Member of the EC in charge of Environment, at the press room, in Brussels
||Cutaway of the speakers
||Soundbite by Janez Potočnik (in ENGLISH): Under the current laws, it is illegal to break European ships in non Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. It's illegal but look at what actually happens; when you consider that 90% of European ships are in fact recycled outside of the OECD and many in the conditions as such as this, it is clear that something is simply wrong, that this geographical bend is ineffective.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by Janez Potočnik (in ENGLISH): We already have an international instrument drawn up to regulate worldwide ship recycling: the so-called "Honk-Kong Convention" but it will be many years before the convention is ratified and becomes effective. At the earliest, in 2020 and that is a highly optimistic estimate. So, the Commission wants to speed up the entering into force of the Hong-Kong Convention. Therefore, we propose through this regulation to transpose the convention into European Union law already now but we also adopted this morning a proposal for a Council decision requiring Member States to proceed with ratification of this international convention as soon as possible.
||Cutaway of the audience
||Soundbite by Janez Potočnik (in ENGLISH): The use of certain particular hazardous substances will be prohibited in the design and construction of the ships. New and old ships flying the flag of an EU Member State will have to keep an inventory of the hazardous materials on board.
||Cutaway of a photographer
||Soundbite by Janez Potočnik (in ENGLISH): The criteria for being on the European list of accepted facilities will effectively make it impossible for them to use damaging beaching techniques. This proposal is sending a strong signal not only to ship owners but also to the ship recycling industry; to reward those which already have invested in improving their facilities, to signal to the others that this is time to invest and improve if they want to be able to legally recycle EU flag ships.
||Janez Potočnik leaving the press room