The NOVOCHERKASSK under tow by the EUROSUND tug bound for shipbreaking in Turkey.
Turkey has denied the Ukranian end-of-life vessel,
Novocherkassk, access into Turkish waters on the grounds that
hazardous substances on board had not been removed. The old ship
had been destined for the local shipbreaking yard in Aliaga.
Greenpeace welcomed the unprecedented move by Turkish
authorities, which occurred as the International Maritime
Organisation (IMO) was concluding its second day of discussions on
international regulations for shipbreaking without major
"Turkey has done the right thing by sending this ship back to
the exporting country and demanding the removal of the hazardous
substances, prior to export for scrapping. Unfortunately, we cannot
say the same about the IMO. In failing to regulate end-of- life
vessels exported to developing countries to be cleaned of hazardous
materials, the IMO is effectively covering up a trade in hazardous
wastes, illegal under the Basel Convention, " said Greenpeace
campaginer Erdem Vardar in Turkey.
Turkey joins an increasing number of countries taking action to
protect the environment and workers from the pollution caused when
hazardous substances are released during shipbreaking. Recently The
Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Belgium have acted to prevent the
export or import of hazardous wastes on board end- of-life
While individual countries try to do the right thing, the IMO,
whose role is to protect the environment and people from the
adverse impacts of the shipping industry, are failing to establish
clear binding guidelines to control shipbreaking.
"This action by Turkey increases the pressure on the IMO to take
the necessary measures consistent with the requirements under the
Basel Convention to prevent environmental pollution and health
impacts related to the breaking of toxic ships.Despite the growing
recognition by some shipowners and countries that the Basel
Convention applies to end-of-life ships, the IMO still fails to
provide the necessary guidance to shipowners, flag and port
states," said Marietta Harjono from the Greenpeace delegation
present at the IMO meeting.
The IMO meeting continues till Friday, JULY 18.
Notes: (1) Each year 600 vessels like Novocherkassk are scrapped for recycling, mostly in developing countries where the costs in human lives and environmental damage is unacceptable. About 100 ships are scrapped in Turkey every year with half coming from European companies. The costs for scrapping ships in Turkey are lower than in Europe because the basic requirements for the protection of people and the environment are not met at shipbreaking yards.