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Shipping associations unite against recycling proposals

Global – The European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the Asian Shipowners’ Forum (ASF) have joined together in their condemnation of proposed amendments to a new EU Ship Recycling Regulation, to be voted on by the European Parliament this week. The shipowners are objecting in particular to the ‘unacceptable tax on trade’ to be imposed on all merchant ships calling at EU ports – a tax which is intended to fund recycling in Europe. The proposal is a ‘grave offence to the EU’s trading partners, not just major ship recycling nations such as China and India, but to major shipping nations such as Japan and Singapore’, argues ECSA secretary general Alfons Guinier. The suggested measure has ‘simply not been thought through’, he adds.

According to Guinier, it is wrong to demand a tax from one industrial sector in order to assist another, especially without ‘proper consultation’ with the affected parties. ‘Shipping is a global industry operating under global rules,’ he contends. ‘The European Parliament should really not be contemplating measures which will work against the aim to improve recycling conditions globally ‘€“ an aim which we fully support.’

If the proposed amendments are indeed accepted, it will be ‘seriously damaging’ to the Hong Kong Convention, observes ICS secretary general Peter Hinchliffe. But he insists: ‘It is not just the tax. Many of the other measures being proposed, such as sanctions against non-EU shipowners who don’t comply and the creation of a unilateral list of recycling facilities that meet EU requirements, will almost certainly mean that Asian nations will be unable to ratify the IMO Convention.’ This will ‘undermine years of hard work’ by governments as well as by shipowners and ship recyclers to develop a binding and workable global solution.

ASF secretary general Yuichi Sonoda adds: ‘An opportunity to improve standards via the Hong Kong Convention will be lost for a generation by these astounding and incomprehensible proposals which are creating huge concern amongst industry and governments alike in Asia.’

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