Destination Unknown - European single hull oiltankers: no place to go

Publication - 7 December, 2004
Report looking at what will happen to the single hulled oil tankers being phased out in the EU and how will they be scrapped.

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Executive summary: According to new research by Greenpeace (section 2), EU+1 countries bear a great responsibility, as either ‘flag´ state or country of ownership, for up to 29% of all single hull oil tankers (by DWT2) subject to the global phase out regulations through 2005. Our research indicates 334 EU+ controlled oil tankers alone have either already met the IMO global phase out criteria, or will meet this criteria through 2005, and will have to be removed from operation: bearing a collective toxic burden of 130 million litres equal to more than two Prestige disasters (see section 3). During the research to collect a list of single hull oil tankers, subject to phase out regulation through 2005, it became clear that the well known lack of transparency in the shipping industry is also a critical gap within the implementation and enforcement of the phase out regulation. How is it possible that the EU will attempt to carry out these regulatory function without one definitive and consolidated vessel list from an authoritative regulatory body? How is it possible that several studies available on this issue of single hull oil tankers subject to phase out regulations have considerable factual discrepancies? According to our estimates, more than one thousand (as many as 1,119) oil tankers, potentially including vessels that should have been removed from service already, will have to be scrapped in less than 13 months through the end of 2005. These tankers represent 54 million DWT of which 29% (334 vessels, representing 16 million DWT) have a European face (owned, flagged, or both via the EU). How can the EU carry out its regulatory function on this issue if no transparant regulatory body can precisely identify and monitor the tankers which meet the phase out regulatory criteria? As witnessed and documented by Greenpeace and other concerned stakeholders over the past several years3, the current practice of sending EU+ toxic old ships to developing countries is a carefully disguised form of the hazardous waste trade. The recent Basel Convention decision (appendix 3) of 163 countries in October, 2004 that ships ending their life must be considered a Basel waste is just another confirmation of this cynical waste trade. It is clear that the EU+ has not only an enormous responsibility but an opportunity to bring the shipping industry into line with the norms of international guidelines on the transboundary trade in toxic waste. The EU+ cannot, on either legal or moral grounds, protect its beaches and environment from oil spills by exporting the threat to Asia and Turkey. There is an urgent need for shipbreaking facilities that can deal with the inherent legacy of toxics.

Num. pages: 27