The important trade of shipbreaking ensures that ships and other assets like energy platforms, oil rigs, hulks, and life expired assets can be recycled into useful and valuable raw materials in an environmentally safe manner that also ensures safety for staff.
At worst there are such thing as ‘ghost’ ships where a vessel is literally and deliberately abandoned as the ship’s owners no longer want to finance it, this is – to say the least – irresponsible.
Shipbreaking has had more than its fair share of bad press from documentary videos focusing on low pay conditions in ship yards in India in recent years.
One example of this is the video Where Ships Go to Die by the National Geographic magazine, another would be finding North Korean workers in almost slave like conditions in Polish yards.
Older vessels can carry potentially dangerous chemicals within hydraulic and power generation or bilge water area or corroded components and the need of control of hazardous materials has been enshrined in legislation like MARPOL, and at intra-state level in the EU.
Here is a quote from the Lloyds Register Of Shipping website:
The EU Ship Recycling Regulation came into force on 31 December 2020 and effects any in-service ship of 500 GT or over calling at any EU* port or anchorage (regardless of flag). It requires that vessels hold a valid and certified Inventory Hazardous Materials (IHM) on board.
https://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/ship_recycling_reducing_human_and_environmental_impacts_55si_en.pdf you can download the EU document here.
Other relevant legislation includes the Hong Kong Convention HKC for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, known as the HKC.
We have included a few links pollution prevention and information links below: