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16

Way to The Green Economy

The world shipping industry tries to make ship demolition environmentally safer. One of the discussed ways for that is

The world shipping industry tries to make ship demolition environmentally safer. One of the discussed ways for that is to implement so called ?Green Passports? for vessels.

The passport idea is part of a set of draft guidelines approved earlier this month by a committee of the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for adoption by member countries next year.

The Green Passport would accompany a vessel from builder to breaker. It would record hazardous materials used in construction and subsequent changes in materials and equipment.

An existing voluntary code lists asbestos and lead and tin-based coatings as materials posing dangers at the breaking yards and another 29 hazardous materials found on board, from raw sewage to mercury.

So far this year, some 24m tonnes of shipping have been scrapped. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh account for over three-quarters of the total. This level of demolition is forecast to continue at least to the end of the decade, driven in part by the compulsory replacement of single-hulled oil tankers and fleet overcapacity.

With virtually all of a vessel recycled, the shipbreaking industry can be seen as a paradigm of the green economy. But as the IMO committee said, "working practices and environmental standards in the yards often leave much to be desired".

The International Labour Organisation reports workers with lung problems, gas explosions and beaches polluted with chemicals and toxic substances. Greenpeace says shipowners make $1bn a year from demolition tonnage and some of that should be spent cleaning up vessels before being beached.