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An international regime on shipbreaking: A long walk

The ongoing process towards a common, international regime on shipbreaking is moving slowly ahead. At least three different institutions in the UN family are participating. IMO (International Maritime Organisation), UNEP (UN Environmental Programme), and ILO (International Labour Organisation). Norwegian authorities are playing an important role in the two institutions first mentioned. IMO has started the work towards guidelines on the preparations of ships prior to breaking, UNEP, under the Basel Convention, is looking into the environmental matters connected to shipbreaking, while ILO is raising questions concerning labour security and health.
Artikkelen er mer enn to år gammel. Ting kan ha endret seg.
The ongoing process towards a common, international regime on shipbreaking is moving slowly ahead. At least three different institutions in the UN family are participating. IMO (International Maritime Organisation), UNEP (UN Environmental Programme), and ILO (International Labour Organisation). Norwegian authorities are playing an important role in the two institutions first mentioned. IMO has started the work towards guidelines on the preparations of ships prior to breaking, UNEP, under the Basel Convention, is looking into the environmental matters connected to shipbreaking, while ILO is raising questions concerning labour security and health.


By Morten Rønning
Norwatch

IMOs Maritime Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) held its 46th session in London. The agenda included the work towards an international regime on shipbreaking, or ship-recycling, as they call it. This work was initiated by Norway (see NW 1/00).

The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) is representing Norway in the committee. Bangladesh is heading the correspondence group, which presented its report in London. MEPC decided that the group should focus on the following issues before the next session in March 2002:

- to identify all stakeholders and their perceived roles during the life-cycle of a ship;

- to identify and elaborate on the perceived role of IMO in ship recycling;

- to identify the existing international, national and additional industry and/or other relevant standards/guidelines, possibly applicable to ship recycling within the perceived role of IMO;

- to recommend possible courses of action for further consideration by the Committee, and    to identify the pros and cons associated with each option.

Norway and the Netherlands are heading the work on technical guidelines for environmentally sound shipbreaking under the Basel Convention, on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, together with India. December last year, the technical commission decided upon the table of contents for the forthcoming report which Norway and the Netherlands are preparing. Det Norske Veritas is compiling the two countries contributions, which are to be presented at the forthcoming meeting in Stockholm in June. If the technical commission agrees upon the report, it will be presented at the 6th meeting of the Conference of the Parties in May 2002. If the 6th meeting further agrees upon the report, this work has reached the end of the road.

ILO has lately been arranging workshops in Bangladesh (Chittagong) and India (Mumbai) preparing a closer co-operation between local, national, and international organisations involved in the problems connected to shipbreaking. ILO has published several reports on the human risk in shipbreaking the way it is done in Asia today.

On April 20th, another accident occurred in Chittagong. An explosion took place while breaking a ship named City of Loom, according to CODEC. Only five days later another explosion occurred, while breaking the Liberia-registered ship MV Platinum, which previously belonged to World Tankers Management of Singapore. Local journalists have explained that the owner of the wharf refused them any access after the accident, and it is still not known whether or how many people were injured during the two explosions.

Norwatch Newsletter 5/01