NEW YORK A
collective of nonprofit organizations around the world,
including some in the United States, have voiced their dismay
at the European Unions adoption of new regulations
governing its shipbreaking industry.
environmental, human and labor rights organizations represented
by the Shipbreaking Platform and the European Environmental
Bureau (EEB) condemned the new E.U. regulations on ship
recycling, with suggestions that the law contains illegal
provisions that violate the Basel Convention.
Platform and the EEB denounced the new E.U. regulations on ship
recycling "for effectively postponing and possibly ridding the
E.U. of its responsibility to provide solutions to the global
interests will continue to make significant financial profits
by externalizing environmental and human health costs to the
shipbreaking beaches of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, and to
the exploited work force there," the organizations said.
While the new
regulations mandate that ships registered under an E.U. flag
are sent to approved ship recycling facilities that are built
to adequately contain hazardous materials, it doesnt
prevent ship owners from switching vessels to a non-E.U. flag
prior to sending the ships for breaking in order to avoid
falling under the requirements of the new E.U. law.
"In fact, the
regulation may even have the unintended effect of shrinking the
number of ships registered under an E.U. flag, and therefore
making the regulation counterproductive to other E.U.
initiatives aimed at building a more-robust E.U. fleet," the
Action Network (BAN) joined the dissent.
"The new ship
recycling regulation removed end-of-life ships that contain
hazardous materials from the scope of the European Waste
Shipment Regulation despite the fact that the Basel Convention
requires strictly regulating these materials in order to
prevent the indiscriminate dumping of toxic waste on developing
countries," it said July 1.
According to BAN,
there is clear and compelling legal opinion demonstrating that
the unilateral move was a breach of E.U. legal obligations, as
it is required to uphold the Basel Convention and Basel Ban
Amendment. Independent legal experts and the European Council
Legal Services warned of the illegality of the new regulations,
it said, yet the European Council and European Parliament
disregarded the warnings, taking a calculated risk that
European courts wouldnt strike down the regulation prior
to its entry into force.
"The new ship
recycling regulation very cynically promotes illegal traffic in
hazardous waste that would never be allowed for any other
industry," BAN executive director Jim Puckett said. "We have a
situation now in Europe where it is a criminal act to export an
old computer to India but perfectly legal to export a toxic
ship. It makes a shocking and shameful mockery of Europes
alleged concern for human rights and the environment."