The EU Regulation on Ship Recycling (1257/2013) – which, with respect to new vessels, will enter into full effect on 31 December 2018 – obliges EU-flagged vessels to conduct dismantling operations in European Commission-approved ship-recycling facilities in accordance with:
- the Ship-Specific Ship-Recycling Plan (SSSRP); and
- the Inventory of Hazardous Materials.
Before any recycling of the ship, the SSSRP is set to be developed by the operator of the ship-recycling facility in accordance with the provisions of the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships 2009.
Ship owners must furnish all ship-relevant information necessary for the development of the SSSRP, including the Inventory of Hazardous Materials which identifies harmful materials contained in the structure or equipment of the ship, their location and approximate quantities. Each new ship must have such inventory onboard to comply with all relevant International Maritime Organisation Guidelines and provide evidence that the ship complies with the restrictions or prohibitions of hazardous materials.
Pursuant to the EU Regulation on Ship Recycling, ships will be subject to several surveys undertaken by a recognised organisation and conducted as follows:
- initial survey;
- renewal survey;
- additional survey; and
- final survey.
An inventory certificate (supplemented by the Inventory of Hazardous Materials) will be issued following the successful completion of either the initial or renewal survey. The initial survey of a new ship will be conducted before the ship is put into service, while for existing ships the initial survey will be conducted by 31 December 2020. The surveys will verify that the ship-recycling plan and Inventory of Hazardous Materials complies with the regulation.
When a ship is to be taken out of service or recycled, a final survey will be conducted. Following the successful completion of the final survey, a ready-forrecycling certificate will be issued by the appointed recognised organisation. The certificate will be supplemented by the Inventory of Hazardous Materials and the SSSRP.
If the particulars and condition of the ship are not adequately reflected in the inventory certificate, the operator of the ship-recycling facility may decline to accept the ship for recycling. Further, owners of end-of-life ships destined for recycling are required to minimise the amount of cargo and shipg-enerated waste remaining onboard.
Ships flying third-country flags
The regulation also provides for ships flying the flag of a third country calling at a port or anchorage of a member state. It requires such ships to have onboard an Inventory of Hazardous Materials in compliance with the regulation in the same manner as a member state-flagged ship. Following arrival in a member state, a statement of compliance together with the inventory is to be submitted to the authorities on request and may be detained, dismissed or excluded from ports in the event that it fails to submit the same on request by port authorities.
Pursuant to the above measures, the regulation aims to mitigate and eventually eliminate the adverse effects of operating, maintaining and recycling EU-flagged ships on human health and the environment.
by Lara Saguna Axiaq and Peter Grima, members of the MMLA and maritime lawyers within the Ship Registration & Finance Department of Fenech & Fenech Advocates