China’s move to stop recycling international ships at its yards as of the beginning of 2019 will result in the closing of some of the best recycling yards in the world, the International Ship Recycling Association (ISRA) said.
The decision to review the import of ships bound for recycling comes on the heels China’s efforts to crack down on polluter and waste producing industries in the country.
China’s yards have pioneered green recycling of ships in line with strict international regulations on health, safety and environment and a number of them match the Hong Kong Convention and the EU ship recycling regulation requirements.
The decision would slash global capacity for environmentally-friendly recycling of ships, despite the ongoing efforts from Indian yards to become compliant with the Hong Kong Convention. Hence, owners would have to start to take these yards more seriously in addition to those in Turkey.
“If the announcement of the central government in China is activated the result is that well over 2.5 million tons of high standard capacity is taken out of the global market and can be seen as a major step back in the global development towards environmental and human safe ship recycling,” ISRA said.
“Ship owners that have deliberately selected China in the past as the best ship recycling country in the world have to find new solutions for facilities with equal standards. The lost ship recycling capacity cannot be found within a short period and this could force these ship owners to accept lower standards. This negative trend is hard for the industry to accept and understand.”
As such, the association believes China, being a ship building nation, should continue to recycle ships.
Over the past 20 years, the ship recycling method adopted by China reduced the total amount of waste and transformed it in recovered reusable materials in an environmentally sound manner.
“ISRA is concerned about this recent development and is available to regulators around the world to discuss and assist in keeping this important capacity for the maritime industry. We would welcome the Chinese Government to review its announcement and maintain this important ship recycling capacity for the future,” ISRA’s Secretary General, Bernard Veldhoven said.
What is more, reduction in capacity of ship recycling yards in China could prompt owners to increase the number of ships being sent for dismantling on South Asian beaches. South Asia’s dismantling yards are notorious for their poor environmental and healthy and safety practices.
From a total of 206 ships, which were broken in the first quarter of 2018, 152 ships were beached in South Asia, according to NGO Shipbreaking Platform.