Ship breaking activities across the globe have been a cause for concern for several years due to the negative impacts caused on tidal beaches as well as the high mortality rates associated with the dismantling of large vessels. As a result, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) developed the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (more commonly known as the Hong Kong Convention) to improve the health and safety aspects of current ship breaking practices. The Hong Kong Convention, although adopted in 2009 has not yet entered into force. Regulation (EC) No 1257/2013 on ship recycling (known as the Ship Recycling Regulation) aims to reduce the negative impacts linked to the recycling of ships flying the flag of Member States of the Union and was also implemented to facilitate the early ratification of the Hong Kong Convention by European Union Member States and third countries.

The Ship Recycling Regulation does not apply to:

(i) Any warships, naval auxiliary, or other ships owned or operated by a state and used, for the time being, only on government non-commercial service;

(ii) Ships of less than 500 gross tonnage (GT);

(iii) Ships operating throughout their life only in waters subject to the  sovereignty or jurisdiction of the Member State whose flag the ship is flying.

The Ship Recycling Regulation establish requirements, which ships and ship recycling facilities have to fulfil in order to ensure that the recycling of vessels takes place in an environmentally sound and safe manner. The said Regulation prohibits the use of certain hazardous materials on board ships and requires any EU-flagged ship going for dismantling to have an on-board inventory of hazardous materials (IHM), including information on the quantities of such materials as well as their location, with a view to facilitate recycling of vessels.

Flow chart on Ship recycling regulation

Further information on the Ship Recycling Regulation.