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EU agreement on shipbreaking regulation

    Europe – EU-flagged ships will no longer be permitted to be broken up on south Asian beaches as a result of an agreement reached last week by the European Commission and the European Parliament over a new regulation governing ship recycling.

    The new regulation will establish a list of EU-approved ship recycling facilities requiring standards to ensure that EU-flagged ships are properly recycled and that waste materials contained in the vessels are properly managed throughout the recycling process, preventing negative environmental impacts while also safeguarding the health of workers in the facilities.

    With the Irish government currently holding the EU presidency, Ireland’s environment minister Phil Hogan heralded the agreement as an ‘important instrument to achieve the safe and environmentally sound recycling of EU ships at end-of-life’.

    However, EU ship owners will still be able to avoid the regulation by selling their ships to a non-EU party before scrapping. This could allow widespread non-compliance, according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

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