Green Ships:Ship breaking Regulations

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Hong Kong Convention

Summary

The Hong Kong International Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships is the most recent legislation that oversees the creation of clearer, stricter guidelines for occupational and environmental safety in ship recycling. It attempts to improve on the much older Basel Convention, and "it applies to ships entitled to fly the flag of a Party" or to ships and ship-recyling facilities operating under Party jurisdiction.[1] "Adopted under the auspices of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in May of 2009 after more than five years of negotiations, the Hong Kong Convention is expected to enter into force in 2015." "The aim of the Convention is to provide regulations on the design, construction, preparation, and operation of ships in order to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling." "The Convention requires all vessels to carry detailed, regularly updated inventories" of their hazardous materials. Unfortunately for the environment, the original conditions of the Hong Kong convention were vague enough that many countries were able to sidestep the safety guidelines.[2]

Strengths

Although the Hong Kong Convention has come under scrutiny in some respects, it does successfully serve some functions. "The Convention requires all vessels to carry detailed, regularly updated inventories" of the ship’s hazardous materials. In order to ensure compliance with this policy and close potential loopholes, the ships must be surveyed throughout their lifetimes to verify the inventories of hazardous materials. Ships must undergo an initial survey, surveys throughout their useful lives, "and a final survey prior to recycling."[2]

"The Hong Kong Convention tries to regulate all aspects of a ship's life (described by Bhattacharjee as ‘the cradle-to-grave-approach')." Many conventions were developed with a tertiary prevention approach to ship recycling, protecting the environment and its workers. Few conventions, however, have turned their efforts to primary and secondary prevention methods. Unlike the Basel Convention and other international treaties, the Hong Kong Convention addresses the crucial issue of ‘green ship building and design’.[2] The Convention also takes special care to address the environmental and occupational dangers associated with the ship-recycling industry.[1] Ship recycling yards must be authorized, and every ship in the recycling yard must have a ‘Ship Recycling Plan.’[2] ???Other conventions allow leniency to visiting ships operating through other parties, enabling them to slip through the cracks through other countries not operating or operating under less restricted policies.[1]

Weaknesses

Although the Hong Kong Convention is an update to the Basel Convention, the Hong Kong Convention has several key faults. First, it lacks instruction on the methods that should guide ship recycling and on the ‘final management of waste.’[2] The convention does not force shipbreaking countries or ship owners to improve present conditions, and it "fails to demand the decontamination of ships within developed countries prior to their exportation."[2] Arguably, even the mention of ship recycling in the convention is a substantial improvement on the Basel Convention. Nevertheless, ‘the 2009 Hong Kong Convention itself does not introduce a compulsory and environmentally sound ship recycling method.’[2] In fact, "the Convention does not entirely ban the practice of dismantling ships on beaches."

Another drawback of the Hong Kong Convention is that it does not account for all vessels. Among the excluded ships are ‘warships, naval auxiliary ships or other ships owned or operated by a Party and used only on governmental, non-commercial service.’[2]

The Hong Kong Convention’s focus on primary prevention is extraordinarily beneficial in many ways, but the vast majority of ships currently in use should also be addressed as their average lifetime of 20 years is a lengthy amount of time to go ignored and harm workers and the environment.??? Another potential flaw of the Hong Kong Convention is that much of the responsibility for managing ship toxins lies with recyclers – often the recyclers in poor countries who do not have the tools and capital to renovate and modernize their ship-breaking operations.[2]

The principal challenge of the Hong Kong Convention is enforcing it. Bangladesh and other developing countries did not recognize ship breaking as a legitimate industry until recently. Thus, ratifying the Hong Kong convention proved problematic. The Convention required ‘the signatures of the five main ship recycling States: Bangladesh, China, India, Pakistan and Turkey.[2] Update information

AFS Convention

Summary

In 2001, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) created the Anti-Fouling Systems (AFS) Convention in response to the harmful effects of anti-fouling systems. In September of 2007, Panama became the 25th and final state (out of 166 IMO member countries) to ratify the convention. The AFS Convention "entered into force and became binding" for the 25 participating states (representing 38.09% of the world’s merchant shipping tonnage - 25% was required) in September of 2008.[3] One major asset of the AFS Convention is the sheer number of shipping countries that signed it.

Strengths

The IMO adopted the AFS Convention to address the harmful effects of anti-fouling systems, and in particular to halt the use of paints containing toxic substances such as TBT. The AFS Convention prohibited all use of TBT-based anti-fouling paints in 2008.[4]

Weaknesses

The prohibition of TBT-based paints in 2008 led ship owners to push for the quick removal of TBT-based paints. Unfortunately, this encouraged unsafe paint removal methods such as ship scraping that resulted in increased toxic waste in shipyards.[4]. This waste may harm marine life as well as ship workers who inhale paint particles.

European Commission

Summary

The European Commission (EC) as a whole works to create legislation in accordance with European Union (EU) treaties. "In March of 2012, the EC adopted a proposal for new regulation on ship recycling." The proposal, which was called the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, was approved by the European Parliament in April, 2013. The EC's newly implemented regulation operated under the governing Hong Kong Convention. It also invoked elements of the Basel Convention and aimed to implement an amendment to the Basel Convention (the ‘Ban Amendment’), which had not yet "entered into force." The legislation’s principal requirement was that "European ships be dismantled in safe and environmentally sound facilities." The EU has accepted responsibility, primarily that the Hong Kong Convention has forced countries to accept, for their flagged ships and reducing the negative impacts associated with ship-recycling without creating irrelevant economic burdens. According to the policy, all waste destined for disposal (including end-of-life ships and vessels) would be subject to the requirement of prior notification.[2] <-seems like a direct quote

Strengths

With the EU Ship Recycling Regulation in place, the European Union must take responsibility for its vessels and reduce its exports of toxic waste. Furthermore, European ships may only be recycled in facilities that are on a list of registered European recycling facilities. Recyclers must "apply for inclusion on this list with evidence that they meet the stipulated requirements."[2]

Weaknesses

Basel Convention

Summary

The Basel Convention was a groundbreaking early international agreement established to prohibit the transport of toxic waste for disposal, and to protect human health and the environment from toxins. It remains the principal international legal instrument of regulation on the shipbreaking industry. The main purpose of the Basel Convention is to ensure that parties take responsibility for their own hazardous waste, establish hazardous waste disposal facilities within their territory (including recycling facilities), minimize the generation and trans-boundary movement of hazardous waste, and ensure that exported waste does not harm the human and environmental health of other countries. The convention calls for ‘environmentally sound management,’ "which means taking all practicable steps to ensure protection of human health and the environment."[2] Many more recent policies stem from the Basel Convention. For example, the European Waste Shipment Regulation 259/93/EEC, a policy based largely on the Basel Convention, determines how waste must be handled before it can move "within, into, or out of" Europe.[2] Unfortunately, one powerful country that played a key role in drafting the Basel Convention did not ultimately ratify it – the United States. In doing so, the U.S. joined Haiti and Afghanistan as the only agreement signatories that failed to ratify the treaty. Despite the strict guidelines set out by the Basel Convention to discourage the transport of toxic waste, many ship owners continue to export their old ships. In most cases, "ships exported for shipbreaking are a clear violation of the [Basel Convention] objectives."[2]

Strengths

The Basel Convention laid the groundwork for the future of toxic waste regulation. "It obligates parties", regardless "of their status (e.g., state of export, import, transit, flag or port state), to prohibit" "the export of hazardous and other wastes to parties" that "have prohibited the import of such wastes." Furthermore, "it defines “illegal traffic” of hazardous wastes and makes it a criminal act." The prohibition on the transportation of hazardous waste is clear and indisputable. "The Basel Convention's 7th Conference of Parties recognized that end-of-life vessels containing PCBs, asbestos, heavy metals and other hazardous substances should be legally defined as hazardous wastes" by "international law."[2]

The Basel Ban Amendment, a new addition to the Basel Convention, "prohibits all hazardous wastes from being transported from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations to non-OECD nations." The OECD, which comprises 34 countries and was founded in 1961, "established a total ban on exports of hazardous wastes from OECD and EC countries to developing countries." This fulfills the requirements of the "convention, namely, “to prevent the developed nations from ‘dumping’ on the developing nations.”"[2]

Weaknesses

Although the Basel Convention has many strengths, it also contains a few unclear policies. "Articles. 4.1 and 6 of the Basel Convention stipulate that no shipment of waste should take place without all “States Concerned” being informed and consented."[2] "This requirement can be circumvented by unscrupulous waste ship traders who declare a ship to be waste only after it is in international waters or already at the shipbreaking state."[2] "The “prior informed consent” (PIC) mechanism requires that the state of export inform an importing state of any transfer, detailing accurately the nature and volume of the waste and receiving written consent from the state of import."[2] In many cases, exporting parties "misrepresent the nature of the waste involved." "In the case of the Abidjan disaster, the waste concerned was described as ‘routine slops,’ the dirty water from washing naval tanks. In fact, it contained a mixture of fuels, caustic soda and over two tonnes of hydrogen sulphide." This lack of honesty "has meant that importing states have difficulty ascertaining whether the information provided is indeed correct."[2]

"The difficulties are further exacerbated by the fact that the Convention offers no explanation of ‘environmentally sound management’ beyond, ‘taking all practicable steps to ensure that hazardous wastes or other wastes are managed in a manner which will protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects which may result from such wastes’." 53 The exact requirements are then "subject to interpretation and conjecture."[2] "This limitation has resulted in what is termed the ‘recycling loophole.’" 59 Some groups claim that waste transfers claimed to be for reuse or reclamation are actually intended for ‘sham recycling’ (dumping) or ‘dirty recycling,’ (recycling that harms health and the environment).[2]

Another problem lies with the Basel Ban Amendment, which has had a low rate of participation in its ratification and which has not entered into force yet.[2]

There are several other instances of vague or missing language. First, the convention has "no direct legal ban on the transboundary movement of hazardous wastes from developed to developing countries."[2] Furthermore, the convention does not offer a clear definition of ‘hazardous waste’ and does not provide a clear process for deciding whether a substance counts as hazardous. Currently, importing states must decide whether to trust the information provided by ship owners.[2] The Basel Convention also "failed to create a fund to minimize the damage from international hazardous wastes," "prohibit transfer of hazardous waste but rather facilitated movement to countries with developing economies."[5]<-indirect quote The Basel Convention also "totally exempts bilateral and multilateral agreements between nonparty countries" (i.e. nonmember countries, the United States) and member countries (e.g. India) "to enter into contracts for disposal of waste."[5] Finally, the 1989 Basel Convention does not provide complete guidelines for all possible "risks and problems" that might arise from a ship recycling facility; "it does not provide detailed [requirements] for the recycling process."[1] "Consequently, the IMO decided to add ship recycling and its environmental impact to its agenda."[1]

Miscellaneous Conventions

The 1982 Law of the Sea Convention pertained to states’ land-based environmental pollution of the sea. According to Article 192, ‘states have the obligation to protect and preserve the marine environment.’ Furthermore, states shall, according to Article 194 ‘take […] measures […] to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment.’ Bangladesh ratified this Convention in 2001.

The Stockholm Convention can be relevant when considering Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) such as PCBs; a pervasive substance in many ships International Convention on the Control of Harmful Antifouling Systems on Ships 2001. It prohibits the use of anti-fouling systems that burdens the environment. Anti-fouling systems that use organotin compounds have to have an additional layer as a barrier to prevent the harmful substances from being released to the environment. substandard beaching yards the anti-fouling paint usually does not get removed professionally, but simply gets scaped off and released to the environment. damaging not only to the workers, but also to the coastal ecosystem. The requirement of over-coating worsens the problem because it makes it more difficult to remove the harmful bottom layer of paint. IMO dedicated legislator of global shipping industry since maritime catastrophes in 1960’s.[1] "In addition, joint efforts with the IMO, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Conference of Parties to the 1989 Basel Convention were also made to establish a Joint Working Group on Ship Scrapping."[1] "Since decision making process within IMO (International Maritime Organization) is base on principle of state sovereignty, state members are free to enter any IMO Convention."[3]

Green Ship Countries

Green Ship Countries

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Chang, Y., N. Wang & O.S. Durak. (2010). Ship recycling and marine pollution. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 60, 1390-1396.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 2.16 2.17 2.18 2.19 2.20 2.21 2.22 2.23 2.24 2.25 Alam, S., & A. Faruque. (2014). Legal regulation of the shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh: The international regulatory framework and domestic implementation challenges. Marine Policy, 47, 46-56.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gipperth, L. (2009). The legal design of the international and European Union ban on tributyltin antifouling paint: Direct and indirect effects. Journal of Environmental Management, 90, S86-S95.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Stichnothe, H., W. Calmano, E. Arevalo, A. Keller & J. Thöming. (2005). TBT-contaminated Sediments: Treatment in a Pilot Scale. Journal of Soils and Sediments, 5(1), 21-29. http://dx.doi.org/10.1065/jss2005.01.128
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dodds, D. (2007). Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Environmental Effects of Shipwrecking and Possible Solutions Under India’s Environmental Regime. 20 Pac. McGeorge Global Bus. and Dev. L.J., 207, 208-236.

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