The International Ship Recycling Association (ISRA) has said it would welcome a Chinese government rethink of a recent decision to prohibit the import of vessels for scrapping.
Earlier this month, Beijing issued a ban on the import of 16 different types of waste materials, including ships and offshore units. According to figures from the NGO Shipbreaking platform, China dismantled 11 per cent of all gross tonnage scrapped globally last year, with 98 vessels sent to the country’s recycling yards.
The ISRA has voiced concerns that China’s exit from the ship breaking business will lead owners to look to unsafe yards in South Asia when it’s time to scrap a vessel. China’s yards have become renowned for their green recycling practices, and many complied with the Hong Kong Convention and the EU’s ship recycling regulations.
“Ship owners that have deliberately selected China in the past as the best ship recycling country in the world have to find new solutions for facilities with equal standards,” said a statement from the ISRA.
“The lost ship recycling capacity cannot be found within a short period and this could force these ship owners to accept lower standards. This negative trend is hard for the industry to accept and understand.”
The organization says that 2.5 million tonnes of high-standard recycling capacity will be taken out of the global market if China ultimately puts the ban into practice. This outcome would constitute “a major step back in the global development towards environmental and human-safe ship recycling”, according to the ISRA.