The scrapping of old oil and chemical tankers, to reduce the risk of maritime environmental disasters, is increasing the incidence of ship breaking and recycling, it said
Most breaking takes place on unregulated beaches in developing countries, but some is carried out in developed countries, said the UN paper Oceans and the Law of the Sea.
As a result, the International Maritime Organization is promoting new guidelines that insist work plans are developed by ship owners and breakers.
The secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is also examining whether its rules apply to old ships, given they contain toxic substances.
It is also investigating whether its procedures for attaining environmentally sound management at ship-dismantling facilities apply to breaking bound vessels.