To help with recycling of ships, last month the International Maritime Organization has adopted a convention that addresses the design, construction, operation, and preparation of a ship for recycling without compromising on safety and operational efficiency, according to the IMO. Ships sent for recycling would be required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials.
The convention also addresses the operation of ship recycling facilities in an environmental sound and safe manner. Certification and reporting requirements are included in the enforcement mechanisms. Critics complain that the convention will not stop common, unsafe, and environmentally harmful practices in underdeveloped countries.
The convention will enter into force 24 months after 15 member states, representing 40% of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, have signed the convention.
Summary information on the convention can be found at http://www.imo.org/About/mainframe.asp?topic_id=1773&doc_id=11368 and http://www.lr.org/NR/rdonlyres/8770F167-DA6F-4B76-A03E-2AB0AD0B8302/95768/LRIMOShipRecyclingConferenceReport.pdf. Background information on ship recycling can be found at http://www.imo.org/environment/mainframe.asp?topic_id=818. Media commentary on the convention, including comments by critics, can be found at http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2009/05/25/stories/2009052550301200.htm, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/15/business/energy-environment/15ship.html, and http://www.nlsenlaw.org/copy_of_news/time-to-scrap-unsafe-shipbreaking.