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Ship recycling

dismantling ships

EU Policy

Currently and for a few more months, the recycling of ships sailing under the flag of an EU Member State is governed by the EU Waste Shipment Regulation, which prohibits the export of hazardous waste to non-OECD countries. However, the existing legislation is not specifically designed for ships and is often circumvented. This stems from a lack of adequate recycling capacity in OECD countries, and also from the difficulty to determine when a ship becomes waste and which country is exporting the ship. The new Ship Recycling Regulation addresses the shortcomings of this legislation and to allow, under strict conditions, the recycling of EU-flagged ships in non-OECD countries.Its main requirements will apply in different stages, with full application from 31 December 2020.

Speeches and preparatory documents

Speech by Commissioner Janez Potočnik: "A more efficient clean up of the ship recycling industry" delivered on the 8 February 2011

On 19 November 2008 the Commission adopted a Communication on "An EU Strategy for better ship dismantling". de fr (pdf~70Kb)

Impact Assessment

Press release "Commission presents EU strategy for safer ship dismantling".

A public consultation on the Commission Communication for "An EU Strategy for better ship dismantling" took place from April to June 2009 (see consultation document. Contributions in the context of this consultation are saved here. A summary of the contributions can be accessed here.

Stakeholder workshops have been organised on the 9 June 2009, 23 October 2009, 8 April 2011 and 27-28 June 2011.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution on the Communication in a resolution of 26 March 2009, the European Economic and Social Committee adopted an opinion on the 13 May 2009 and the Council adopted conclusions on the 21 October 2009.

Green Paper on better ship dismantling

On 22 May 2007, the European Commission has adopted a Green Paper on better ship dismantling:

A public consultation on the Green Paper took place from May to September 2007. Contributions in the context of this consultation are saved here. Short summary of these contributions (as of 15 October 2007) (pdf~20KB).

The European Parliament commented on the Green Paper and called for action at EU level in a resolution of 21 May 2008.

Background information

  • European Community law on waste shipments:
    Regulation (EC) No 1013/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 June 2006 on shipments of waste prohibits the export of hazardous waste from the Community to non-OECD countries.
    With special regard to ships, recital 35 of this regulation reads:
    "It is necessary to ensure the safe and environmentally sound management of ship dismantling in order to protect human health and the environment. Furthermore, it should be noted that a ship may become waste as defined in Article 2 of the Basel Convention and that at the same time it may be defined as a ship under other international rules. It is important to recall that work is ongoing, involving inter-agency cooperation between International Labour Organisation (ILO), International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the Secretariat of the Basel Convention, to establish mandatory requirements at the global level ensuring an efficient and effective solution to the problem of ship dismantling."

    For the text of the regulation and more details see the waste shipment webpage

    Case-law on export of end-of-life ships:

  • Developing an EU strategy for environmentally sound ship dismantling is an element of the Commission's Action Plan for An Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union, see p. 16.
    For further information on EU Maritime Policy see here.

National legislation and ship recycling strategies