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Ship recycling, new strategies for shipowners

European shipowners who for decades have sent their ships to be scrapped in China must now find new recycling solutions.

The approaching deadlines to meet the conditions for safe and environmentally friendly ship dismantling, and the recent decision by the Beijing maritime authorities not to allow the demolition of non-Chinese flag ships in their shipyards, are causing new headaches for European shipowners.

The decision of the Chinese authorities is part of the commitment of that country to reduce the number of polluting industries and producers of harmful waste and that has already resulted in the non-renewal of licences for the demolition of ships for many shipyards. This will mean, in fact, starting from 1st January 2019, a reduction in recycling capacity on the part of Chinese shipyards and, in general, on an international level, the availability of shipyards capable of demolishing ships in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

European shipowners who for decades have sent their ships to be scrapped in China must now find new recycling solutions. The reactions of BIMCO were quick in coming. Peter Sand, BIMCO’s Chief Shipping Analyst said, «Promoting the implementation of the Hong Kong Convention, with the aim of globally improving the structures for the demolition of ships, is the way to go, although this result still seems far from being reached. The move by China to exclude international shipowners from the possibility of demolishing their ships in China is a move in the wrong direction». Finally, according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, the capacity of European structures already recognised as eligible by the EU to proceed with the demolition of ships, among which the San Giorgio del Porto shipyard in Genoa, is still sufficient to demolish European ships destined to end their lifespan.

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