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Monitoring Ship Recycling

Turkey dismantled 133 ships in 2017, including several drill ships and platforms.

In comparison to South Asia, Turkey dismantles smaller vessels, many of them either EU-owned or EUflagged. Aliaga is also a preferred destination for EU navy vessels.

NGOs and local labour rights groups, including Platform partner Istanbul Health and Safety Labour Watch (IHSLW), are concerned about the high accident rate and the low awareness of occupational diseases at the Aliaga yards. As in South Asia, trade union organization remains weak in Aliaga. Although Turkish yards do not do beaching, the landing method which is used also poses environmental challenges, as the risk of slag and paint chips falling into the water is high. Through engagement with NGOs and labour rights groups, the Turkish Ship Recyclers Association remains attentive to constantly improving the industry practice, and the yards are open to visitors. Several of the yards in Aliaga have applied to be on the upcoming EU list of approved ship recycling facilities. In orderto make it on the EU list, the yards will be subject to critical assessment of their environmental and social performance.

Several Chinese companies have invested in modern ship recycling facilities that have the capacity to break a substantial amount of large vessels alongside piers and in docks. Some of the largest yards in the world have applied to be on the EU list of approved recycling facilities. The beaching method is banned in China. The Chinese government had a subsidy scheme in place to boost domestic scrapping of Chinese-owned and flagged vessels, but the scheme recently expired, leaving several yards out of business. In 2017, only 98 vessels were scrapped in China, also due to significantly low steel prices.

The absence of independent trade unions, however, remains a challenge in China. Also, while the yards are highly developed at the level of technology and methods used, not all yards are fully equipped and provide adequate training for the proper removal of hazardous wastes, in particular asbestos; nor is there consistent downstream traceability of the hazardous materials that are removed from the ships. Asbestos is still widely used in China, and yards do not always guarantee that all asbestos-containing materials are properly disposed of.

In December 2016, the EU published the list of ship recycling facilities that are approved according to the EU Ship Recycling Regulation and located in EU Member States. 21 facilities located in Belgium, Denmark, France, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and the UK have been approved and together have a total capacity to recycle 1.1 million LDT. These yards are currently mainly breaking government-owned and smaller vessels, but have signalled that the promise of a larger market share would prompt investments to enlarge the yards so that they could also recycle larger commercial ships. After four years of salvaging and recycling operations, the infamous Costa Concordia’s dismantling in the port of Genova successfully came to an end.

Also in the US, facilities are able to recycle vessels in a safer and more environmentally friendly way than on the beaches of South Asia. Two of these facilities have applied to be on the EU List and, if approved, would increase the capacity for EU-compliant ship recycling practices.
Source: NGO Shipbreaking Platform

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