During the past decade, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has made significant progress to reduce the environmental impact of active ships by implementing various regulatory constraints (on air emissions and on waste for instance). But what happen to ships at the end of their working life?
Most of the vessels are dismantled on the beaches of South Asian countries, under extremely poor working conditions and causing severe pollution. With the intention to clean-up the ship-breaking activities, the IMO, in 2009, adopted the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The Convention aims at ensuring that ships, when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational life, do not cause any unnecessary risks to the environment and to the health and safety of people.
Unfortunately, this international rule has still not been implemented. Indeed, only Congo, France and Norway have ratified it so far, while 15 national ratifications representing 40% of the world fleet Gross Tonnage are needed for the Hong Kong convention to be enacted.
Therefore, the European Parliament has called for measures at the European level that goes beyond the IMO proposal. Consequently, the European Parliament passed regulation 1257/2013 on 30th December 2013. It will be applicable for new EU flagged ships beginning in December 2018 and for existing EU flagged ships beginning in December 2020. The regulation will also concern non-EU flagged ships if they call at ports of EU member states, from December 2020.
Under these ship recycling regulations, Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) for ships, formally called “Green Passport” has been introduced. It has been agreed that such a document, containing an inventory of all potentially hazardous materials present on board a ship, would accompany the ship throughout its working life. This inventory would indicate the weight as well as the place of the hazardous material on the ship. As a consequence, the convention would impact the whole shipbuilding industry. The ships equipment manufacturers are then de-facto involved in the process as they will have to provide a Material Declaration with an inventory of Hazardous Materials when selling marine product/equipment
Although the regulations will not apply in the coming year, some “green” shipowners may already ask for an IHM. Therefore, the manufacturer industry should anticipate this requirement by releasing information on the use – or non-use – of hazardous material in the products and equipment they provide, per listed in the various appendix of the convention. It is the role of manufacturers to be ahead of the requirements.
Through its eco-mark Green PremiumTM, Schneider Electric is able togenerate a statement on Hazardous Substances that are needed to build the IHM.
To find more about the RoHs (EU Directive for Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronics Equipment) and REACh (regulations for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals) declarations, go to Green Premium/Check a product