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Ships and the waste-resource interface

The out come of Basel Convection While a clear-cut decision on which laws should apply to ships bound for the breaker's yard failed to materialise last month, the tide appears to be turning against the backers of a regime that would snarl shipbreaking in red tape.A meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, of countries signed up to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal had raised expectations it would answer the question of whether the alternative convention on shipbreaking should take precedence over the hazardous-waste treaty if levels of control and enforcement were judged to be equivalent.The European Union, Japan, China and the US were the most significant backers of the Hong Kong Convention on Ship Recycling adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2009, while developing countries, supported by environmental non-governmental organisations, were among those expressing preference for Basel.The outcome, however, was less clear-cut than many would have wished, although some environmental campaigners, who have long argued Basel should apply to ships, interpreted the Delphic statements that emanated from the meeting as a victory.A decision was reached at the meeting on the so-called Ban Amendment to the Basel Convention which, although adopted ...

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Developing countries disagree with Hong Kong Convention on end-of-life ships

10th Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention At the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention, in an effort to prevent toxic ships from being dumped on the beaches of developing countries, African nations declared that they wanted the Basel Convention to retain its competency over end-of-life ships and reinvigorate the Basel Convention's work in this regard.Developing nations, legal experts and NGOs that attended the meeting all voiced the concern that the International Maritime Organization's Hong Kong Convention will not stop hazardous wastes such as asbestos, PCBs, residue oils and heavy metals from being exported to the poorest communities and most desperate workers in developing counties.The Hong Kong Convention, which was adopted in 2009, but has not yet been ratified by a single country, has no intention of minimizing the movement of toxic ships to developing countries.Currently the 1989 Basel Convention is the only legal instrument on transboundary movements of waste, and the only legal tool developing countries can successfully use to stop toxic ships from entering their territorial waters.Liabilities not on the polluterThe developing countries' statement was supported by the Basel Action Network and the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a global coalition of labor rights and ...

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Bangladesh ship breaking workers die after inhaling gas

The workers were inside a scrapped vessel at a yard in the Chittagong region Four Bangladeshi workers have died and two others are ill after inhaling toxic gas while dismantling a vessel at a ship breaking yard, police say.The workers were inside a scrapped vessel at a yard in the Chittagong region on Sunday evening.Their deaths come just days after two other labourers were killed in a similar incident at another yard.Environmentalists say Bangladesh has become a dumping ground for ageing ships with hazardous materials.Vessels being dismantled often contain dangerous gases or asbestos. Many yards are poorly equipped and have inadequate safety standards, campaigners say."All six fell unconscious while working inside a compartment of a scrap vessel which was brought into the yard about a week ago," senior police official Nur Muhammad Bepari told the BBC from the town of Sitakunda.The workers were rushed to Chittagong Medical College hospital on Sunday night but doctors declared four of them dead. The other two are still undergoing treatment."We are investigating and will be filing a case today. The relatives of those killed are not willing to register a complaint fearing that they will not get any compensation," Mr Bepari said.Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers ...

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Discussions over ship-recycling issue

The decade-long battle faces a crucial test next week The decade-long battle by the shipping industry to prevent rules on the international shipment of hazardous waste being applied to ships sold for scrap faces a crucial test next week.A diplomatic meeting in Cartagena, Colombia, is due to deliver its verdict on whether the process of dismantling ships is to be covered by a convention adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) or by a separate treaty originally designed for land-based industries.The meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal might find the IMO's Hong Kong convention on ship-recycling up to scratch or it might say it is faulty compared with Basel.The discussions in Cartagena are taking place against a backdrop of ship owners, hammered by over-capacity, dumping excess tonnage in recyclers' facilities in near-record amounts, with Capesize bulkers and VLCCs prominent among those going under the torch. Under the Basel system of licensing and approval, the likelihood is that the process of disposing surplus tonnage would be reined in by red tape, delaying any recovery.The IMO convention, still waiting to enter into force, was ...

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Ship-breaking yards should be closed in South Asia

They are not environmentally safe and economically beneficial Environmental Lawyers Association, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, has said that ship-breaking yards should be closed in South Asia, as these are not environmentally safe, economically beneficial and socially productive.Syeda Rizwana was speaking at a seminar on Environmental and social issues of ship-breaking industry organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute here on Thursday. Dr Aurangzaib Khan, Chief Environment, Planning Commission of Pakistan chaired the session.Syeda Rizwana said that although ship-breaking industry provides 25 per cent of iron core and livelihood to 18,000 workers, yet its environmental and social costs are unprecedented for Bangladesh. She revealed that coastal fishing in Chittagong is almost gone, 14 species of fish have become extinct, thousands of acres of mangrove forest are chopped off and the whole area have become chemically polluted with un-reparable damage to human health.She said that civil society organisations in Bangladesh successfully campaigned against ship-breaking yards. As a result, Supreme Court of Bangladesh in a landmark decision directed the Bangladesh government to introduce regulations and allow only those ships for breaking in Bangladesh, which are thoroughly cleaned by ship owners for all types of chemicals, pollutants, residues and contaminations. As cleaning of ships is extremely ...

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Scrapping growth could be good news

Scrapping can bring fleet growth down to an average 6.3% a year Braemar Seascope's demolition brokers are working extra hard this year, which may be good news for everyone.Dry cargo demand growth is running at strong levels due to the twin processes of industrialisation and urbanisation in emerging markets. Annual average demand growth between 2011 and 2015 is likely to match and may even exceed the annual 5.2% growth witnessed between 2004 and 2008 - the years of the superboom in dry cargo vessel earnings.However, the massive amount of vessel ordering during and after the boom has led to the currently depressed freight market for dry bulk carriers. Bulker fleet gross growth (i.e. counting new deliveries but not scrapping) is likely to be in the order of 12% a year until 2013 as we add more than 3,000 newbuildings to the circa 8,100 ships that existed at the end of 2010.But scrapping can make a difference in these markets. In order to bring net fleet growth (i.e. deliveries minus deletions) into line with demand growth expectations, every bulk carrier built before 1985 - nearly 1,500 ships - would have to be scrapped by the end of 2013. This would bring ...

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Guidelines for the Implementation of the Hong Kong International Convection for ship recycling

Hong Kong Merchant Shipping Information Note The Hong Kong Marine Department issues Merchant Shipping Information Note regarding Guidelines for the Implementation of the Hong Kong International Convection for the Safe and Enviromentally Sound Recycling of Ships as follows:This Note informs that MEPC of IMO at its 62nd session has adopted guidelines aiming to develop the inventory of hazardous materials present on board and the ship-specific ship recycling plan in accordance with Regulation 5 and 9 of the Convention respectively.1. In 2009, IMO adopted "The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009" ("HK Convention"), which aimed at ensuring that both new and existing ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risk to human health and safety or to the environment.2. In July 2011, at its 62nd session, IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) adopted the following guidelines as required by the Hong Kong Convention:a. Resolution MEPC.196(62) -- "2011 Guidelines for the Development of the Ship Recycling Plan" ; andb. Resolution MEPC.197(62) -- "2011 Guidelines for the Development of theInventory of Hazardous Materials".3. The main purpose of these Guidelines is to provide with recommendations for ...

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EMSA issues report of its Workshop on Ship Recycling

Held in Lisbon on 27-28 June 2011 The European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) issued the report of its Workshop on Ship Recycling, held in Lisbon on 27-28 June 2011.The workshop considered, among other things, interim measures prior to entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention and possible alternatives to the prohibition of exporting end-of-life ships to non-OECD countries.To view the report, click here.Source: EMSA

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Building a Union in Bangladesh

Workers are forced to tear apart container ships 12 hours a day, 7 days a week The USW and Workers Uniting are supporting efforts by workers in Bangladesh to build a free and independent union. As this video shows, the workers there are forced to tear apart huge container ships 12 hours a day, 7 days a week with no safety protections for just pennies.

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