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Decommissioning / Ship Recycling & Environmental Management System

Eventually a ship will come to the end of her economical service to the Owner and will require being decommissioned. In general, ships are not scrapped but are recycled. In the process of recycling ships, almost nothing goes to waste. Steel is reprocessed, generators are reused ashore, batteries find their way into the local economy, oils onboard become reclaimed oil products for use in as fuel in rolling mills or brick kilns and fittings can be re-used on land. Recycling makes a positive contribution to the global conservation of energy and resources.

In theory, the manager’s duties and responsibilities end when the vessel is sold for breaking, however the Company endorses the Industry Code of Practice on Ship Recycling. This Code includes the use of an inventory for all potentially hazardous materials inherent in the machinery, equipment, fittings and ship’s structure. While the inventory is required to be completed for delivery to the breakers, various environmental groups are asking for inventories to be prepared as a matter of course and are making requests to sight these well in advance of the decommissioning of the vessel.

This include fixed Inventory of Potentially Dangerous Materials in the Ship’s Structure and Equipment / Machinery. Details of asbestos containing materials (including board, pipe lagging etc contained in various locations), paint additives (lead, tin, arsenic etc), plastics, materials containing PCBs etc, gases sealed in ship’s equipment (such as refrigerants), chemicals contained in equipment, and other substances inherent in the ship’s machinery, equipment or fittings.



Inventory of Potentially Hazardous Consumables / Stores includes gases, chemicals, packaged items in store and operationally generated wastes.

The information contained in the inventory is for guidance and the quantities are to be estimated only. The inventory is to be retained on board and a copy forwarded to the office. It is to be updated when there are any major changes made to the list and should be reviewed by the Master and Chief Engineer regularly. With specific regard to new builds entering into management and in addition to the above, importance should be placed on obtaining, by the office via the Owners:

a) A firm commitment within the contractual agreement, that a Green Passport is included.

b) That a complete Inventory is included in the new build agreement.

This is in alignment with IMO recommendations (MEPC 419) that all vessels should carry a Ship’s Recycling & Support to Inventory List. Although not yet ratified to date, it is felt that this will be implemented in the near future.

The issue of ship recycling has been on the international agenda for many years. This is because the dismantling of end-of-life ships in beaching facilities without adequate minimum standards raises environmental, safety and health concerns.

Today, most ship scrapping takes place in South Asia – mainly in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan - where demand is high for steel scrap. Some 95-98% of a ship’s lightweight is recycled.

In addition to steel and other useful materials, there are also many pollutants including heavy metals and Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). With older vessels in particular, there may be substances that are banned or considered dangerous in developed countries. Asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are examples of this.

Source: Greenpeace www.greenpeace.org)

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships was adopted in May, 2009.

A series of guidelines are being developed to assist in the Convention's implementation. The Convention will enter into force when it has been ratified by 15 states, representing 40% of the world fleet – something that is likely to occur between 2015 and 2020.

Other associated regulatory requirements

  1. the IMO guidelines on Ship Recycling were adopted in December 2003 but are non-mandatory at present
  2. the ILO requirements for Safety and Welfare in Ship Recycling Facilities
  3. the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal
  4. the European Waste Shipment Regulations (and other regional equivalents).

On May 15, 2009, at a diplomatic conference in Hong Kong, the International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships was adopted by 63 member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

The Convention will enter into force when it has been ratified by 15 states, representing 40% of the world fleet – something that is likely to occur between 2012 and 2015. Its aim is to lay down legally binding and globally applicable ship recycling regulations for international shipping and for ship recycling facilities. It will have serious ramifications for shipowners, builders, repairers and breakers.

Overall, the Convention can be described as a response to the lack of regulation and standards in ship breaking practice – especially where safety, environmental and quality standards are concerned. It covers the entire ship life cycle, from design and construction, through in-service operation to dismantling and requires:
  1. ships to have an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) – also known as the Green Passport
  2. new builds to exclude certain hazardous materials
  3. ship recycling facilities to be authorised by the national authority
  4. ship recycling facilities to provide an approved ‘ship recycling plan’ detailing how the ship will be recycled
  5. ships flying the flag of Parties to the Convention to be recycled only in authorised recycling facilities
  6. ship recycling facilities which are party to the Convention to recycle only ships which they are authorised to recycle.
Responsible recycling can make a positive contribution to the health and safety of workers located in poorer countries as well as being more effective in the global conservation of energy and resources.

The benefits of more environmentally-friendly ship recycling are:
  1. improved health and safety for all persons involved in recycling the ship
  2. better protection of the environment
  3. a positive image for the shipping company
  4. preparaing for the introduction of mandatory legislation in the future

Green Passport

The IMO Guidelines also introduce the idea of a Green Passport for ships where: an inventory of all hazardous materials used in the construction of the ship would go with it through its working life
  1. the inventory is created by the shipbuilder and passed to the ship buyer
  2. any design or equipment changes are recorded throughout the ship's life
  3. the final owner delivers the ship and inventory to the recycling yard.

Industry Code of Practice on Ship Recycling

The Code includes the use of an inventory for all potentially hazardous materials inherent in the machinery, equipment, fittings and ship’s structure.

While the inventory is required to be completed for delivery to the breakers, various environmental groups are asking for inventories to be prepared as a matter of course and are making requests to sight these well in advance of the decommissioning of the vessel.

The information contained in the inventory is for guidance and the quantities are to be estimated only. The inventory is to be retained on board and a copy forwarded to the office. It is to be updated when there are any major changes made to the list and should be reviewed by the Master and Chief Engineer regularly.



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