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The Scrapping of Vessels - An examination of the waste movement regime's applicability to vessels destined for scrapping and potential improvements made in the IMO Draft Convention on Ship Recycling

By Oskar Sundelin


The scrapping of ocean-going vessels is currently done mainly in a few states in Asia. Because of the hazardous materials contained in the ships, the scrapping poses a significant danger to both the workers in the shipbreaking yards as well as to the environment. The international community has been aware of the problems related with shipbreaking for over a decade, and has in different ways tried to improve the practices. Moreover, attention has turned to the regime governing the movement of waste, as it has been argued that a vessel destined for scrapping should be defined as waste under the regime. The waste movement regime contains provisions that control and restrict the transboundary movement of waste. Applying the regime could thus hinder vessels containing hazardous materials from being scrapped in Asia. This thesis examines how the shipbreaking industry functions, what considerations are made before selling a ship for scrapping, and where and how the scrapping is done. Furthermore, the study provides and overview of actions taken so far by different stakeholders that are trying to solve the problems connected with shipbreaking. The main attention is, however, paid to the regulations governing the movement of waste and how the regulations can be applied to vessels destined for scrapping. It is argued that although the waste movement regime can be applied to vessels, the enforcement of the regulation contains some major weaknesses. These weaknesses result in the regime not being effective at solving the problems related with the scrapping of vessels. Finally, the thesis examines the IMO Draft Convention on ship recycling. The Convention is currently being negotiated with the intention to adopt it in May 2009. The procedures laid down by the regulation are explained and some issues that remain unsolved are presented. This is accompanied by some critique of the Convention that has been put forward by environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In the light of the critique from the NGOs and the earlier discussed weaknesses of the waste movement regime, the draft Convention is assessed. The conclusion is that although the draft Convention contains clear improvements of the present situation concerning the scrapping of vessels, the enforcement of the Convention still leaves room for some questions. Moreover, the draft Convention does not fully succeed to allocate the costs caused by shipbreaking in a manner that is in accordance with principles of international environmental law

Topics: Sjörätt, Maritime Law, Miljörätt
Year: 2008
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