The ship recycling market requires “specific legal instruments” to provide incentives for positive operators, European environment commissioner Janez Potočnik has said.
Speaking at the launch of the “Broken” photo exhibition, Brussels, he said: “The ship recycling market is global and very competitive. When sub-standard yards are closed in one country, they immediately reopen somewhere else. It’s a profitable job – and someone, somewhere is always prepared to do it, whatever the cost in human and environmental terms.
“This will mean developing specific legal instruments. Because our current legislative instruments are designed to control movements of wastes, but can’t easily be applied to ships. Ships move, they can change flags, they’re a kind of moving target.”
He added that “encouragement and incentives” must be provided to help ship-owners take more responsibility for recycling of vessels.
Potočnik said: “Recycling is essential to efficient use of resources, but recycling itself must not itself come with a high environmental price. The incentives to recycle must not be only economic, the recuperation of valuable materials, they must also be for the wider public and environmental benefit.”
The announcement comes just days after the HMS Invincible was sold to Turkish recycling firm Leyal Ship Recycling.