1.1 Ships, at some stage, reach the end of their
operating life. The life cycle for most ships, from “cradle
to grave” or “makers to breakers”, gives a life
span of operation of 20-25 years, or more. In 2001, the OECD noted
an increasing casualty rate for older ships remaining in operation,
especially for bulk ships and tankers. The steady withdrawal of older
ships and their replacement by new tonnage, therefore, is a natural
commercial process which provides the opportunity for the introduction
of safer and more environmentally friendly designs, greater operating
efficiency and a general reduction in marine risk.
1.2 In general, recycling is one of the basic
principles of sustainable development. For the disposal of time-expired
ships there are few alternatives to recycling - lay-up only postpones
the issue; there is only a limited opportunity to convert ships for
other uses such as storage facilities, breakwaters or tourist attractions;
scuttling, strictly controlled by the London Convention, gives no
opportunity for the steel and other materials and equipment in a ship
to be recycled.
1.3 So, recycling is, generally, the best option
for all time-expired tonnage. Furthermore, demand for ship recycling
is expected to rise in the near future as ships, particularly oil
tankers, which do not conform to the new international requirements
set by the MARPOL Convention, reach the
end of their commercial lives.
1.4 While the principle of ship recycling is sound,
the working practices and environmental standards in the recycling
facilities often leave much to be desired. Although responsibility
for conditions in the recycling facilities has to lie with the countries
in which they are situated, other stakeholders can contribute towards
minimising potential problems related to health, safety and protection
of the environment in the recycling facilities and should apply these
1.5 These Guidelines have been developed to give
guidance to all stakeholders in the ship recycling process. This includes
flag, port and recycling States, authorities of shipbuilding and maritime
equipment supplying countries, as well as relevant intergovernmental
organisations and commercial bodies such as shipowners, shipbuilders,
marine equipment manufacturers, repairers and recycling facilities.
Additional stakeholders include workers, local communities, environmental
and labour bodies.
1.6 These Guidelines seek to:
.1 encourage recycling as the best means to dispose
of ships at the end of their operating lives;
.2 provide guidance in respect of the preparation
of ships for recycling and minimising the use of potentially hazardous
materials and waste generation during a ship's operating life;
.3 foster inter-agency co-operation; and
.4 encourage all stakeholders to address the issue
of ship recycling.
1.7 In general, these Guidelines accept that the
obligation for environmental and worker protection in ship recycling
facilities must rest with the recycling facility itself and with the
regulatory authorities of the country in which the recycling facility
operates. Nevertheless, it is acknowledged that shipowners and other
stakeholders have a responsibility to address the issues involved.