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Environment

Ships

EU rules on ship recycling aim to make it greener and safer, and to reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of recycling ships.

ollo / Getty images
© ollo / Getty Images

Main law: Ship Recycling Regulation

Entry into force: 30 December 2013

Connected topics:  Chemicals Circular economy Maritime TransportWaste and recycling

Connected strategies: Circular economy action plan

Connected Commission priorities: European Green Deal

Overview

Hundreds of large ships are dismantled in poor environmental and social conditions each year. Workers are low-paid and often have inadequate tools and little protection. This has caused many injuries, deaths and significant pollution.

Background

The EU’s Ship Recycling Regulation is the only dedicated legally binding framework regulating ship recycling. These rules 

  • lay down requirements for ships and recycling facilities to ensure that ship recycling takes place in an environmentally safe and sound manner
  • restrict or prohibit the installation and use of hazardous materials on ships, such as asbestos or ozone-depleting substances
  • establish a European list of ship recycling facilities

This Regulation implements the requirements of the Hong Kong Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships into EU law, but includes also additional safety and environmental requirements. The Convention was adopted in 2009, but has not entered into force.

The inventory of hazardous waste materials

EU rules require that any EU ship going for dismantling, all new European ships, and third-country ships stopping in EU ports have on board an inventory of hazardous materials. This inventory must specify the location and approximate quantities of those materials. This helps the recycling of vessels and reduces the presence of toxic materials on board ships. Port authorities of EU countries may control ships to verify whether they carry such an inventory together with a necessary certificate.

Objectives

The EU’s Ship Recycling Regulation aims to prevent, reduce and minimise accidents, injuries and other negative effects on human health and the environment related to the recycling of ships flying the flag of European Union countries.

Implementation

Member countries are responsible for

The European Commission and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) are working closely with EU countries to assist with the implementation of ship recycling rules, and to ensure that these rules are correctly applied. Implementation issues are discussed regularly with EU countries at meetings of the Ship Recycling Regulation Committee and at meetings of the Experts Group on ship recycling.

Guidance on the implementation of ship recycling rules has been developed, specifically:

The European list of ship recycling facilities

  • From 31 December 2018, ships may only be recycled in one of the facilities listed in the European list of ship recycling facilities. These facilities are located in both EU and non-EU countries, and must comply with a series of requirements related to workers' safety and environmental protection. The list is reviewed and updated regularly to add or remove facilities.
  • The national authorities of EU member countries inform the European Commission of the facilities located on their territory that are compliant. Ship recycling facilities located in third countries and intending to recycle ships flying a flag of an EU member country must submit an application to the Commission for inclusion in the European List using this template.

The Commission issued detailed technical guidelines on the requirements and procedure for inclusion of facilities located in third countries in the European List. 

Map of the EU-listed yards

Site inspection reports of yards located in third countries

Timeline

Key dates related to EU rules on ship recycling

  1. 31 December 2023
    Review of Ship Recycling Regulation
  2. 31 December 2020
    Inventory of Hazardous Materials mandatory for all existing EU flagged ships and non-EU ships calling at an EU port or anchorage
  3. 31 December 2018
    General date of application of Ship Recycling Regulation
    • Inventory of Hazardous Materials now mandatory for new EU flagged ships
    • General requirements for shipowners, including requirements for EU flagged ships to go to approved facilities included in the European List, start to apply
  4. 12 December 2016
    First publication of the European List of ship recycling facilities
    • Inventory of Hazardous Materials made mandatory for EU flagged ships going for recycling
  5. 20 November 2013
    Ship Recycling Regulation adopted

Contact

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