In an increasingly interconnected world, the need for collective action to address global challenges has never been more evident. Among the critical issues demanding urgent attention is ship recycling, argues Mr. Rohit Agarwal, Managing Partner at GUIDESHIP CONSULTING SERVICES LLP.
he responsible demolition of ships at the end of their operational lives plays a significant role in ensuring environmental sustainability and protecting human lives. However, the current landscape of ship recycling regulations is fragmented and Eurocentric, creating inequitable practices and overlooking the interests of several nations.
Europe has been at the forefront of driving ship recycling regulations through the European Union Ship Recycling Regulation (EU SRR). While the EU’s efforts to promote environmentally friendly dismantling practices are commendable, it is essential to broaden our perspective beyond Eurocentric regulations. Regional approaches, though well-intentioned, often create imbalances that favour a select few while neglecting the interests and capabilities of others. To truly address the complexities of ship recycling, we must embrace a global perspective that considers the varying capabilities, interests, and contributions of all nations involved.
The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKC) stands as a comprehensive international framework for ship recycling. While the EU SRR was initially introduced to bridge the gap until the HKC comes into effect, there remains uncertainty regarding whether to abolish the EU SRR once the HKC is fully ratified. This uncertainty, coupled with the existence of overlapping and complex regulations, creates confusion among stakeholders in the ship recycling industry. A unified global standard, drawing upon the principles of the HKC, is crucial to provide clarity and consistency for the maritime industry.
The proliferation of regional regulations and the Basel Convention’s applicability to shipping have created a convoluted landscape for ship recycling. In light of this, there is a pressing need for a single global standard that encompasses safe and environmentally sound ship recycling practices. Advocating for the phase-out of the EU SRR and the application of the HKC worldwide can simplify processes, avoid duplicative regulations, and ensure equal treatment for all stakeholders involved in ship recycling. By establishing a comprehensive framework, we can foster transparency, accountability, and a level playing field for all nations, supporting sustainable development goals.
Europe must acknowledge the risks associated with Eurocentric regulations and embrace a global perspective in matters of ship recycling. Over reliance on regional laws can lead to imbalances and unintended consequences. Instead, we must recognize the importance of cooperation and equitable participation from all stakeholders, including those outside Europe. By promoting global coexistence and collective growth, we can build sustainable systems that benefit everyone involved.
As a responsible player in the ship recycling industry, India stands as an example of embracing the principles set forth by the HKC. Indian ship recycling yards have made significant progress in upgrading their facilities to meet international standards. Moreover, India has exhibited a commitment to considering the concerns of all nations, rather than prioritizing narrow interests. India’s approach underscores the importance of cooperation, respect for diverse viewpoints, and responsible ship recycling practices as we navigate the path towards a more sustainable future.
Existing international order must be fair and equitable to foster trust and cooperation among nations. It is imperative to challenge the dominance of a few nations in shaping global agendas and work towards an inclusive system that respects the interests and contributions of all countries involved in ship recycling. By applying rules equally to all nations, regardless of their size or influence, we can establish a fair and balanced ship recycling regime that promotes sustainable practices and shared prosperity.
To achieve meaningful progress in ship recycling, genuine solidarity and trust are essential in the global community. Respecting the territorial integrity and non-interference in internal affairs of nations is paramount to fostering an environment that supports collaboration and cooperation. By fostering trust and nurturing mutual respect among nations, we can collectively address ship recycling challenges and create a more sustainable and inclusive future.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.