Turkish shiprecycling yards relish chance to compete on a level playing field


Kamil Onal is president of the Ship Recyclers’ Association of Turkey Photo: Ship Recyclers’ Association of Turkey Compliance with game-changing EU regulation gives the nation’s facilities an opportunity to show what they can do on the world stage


The entry into force of the European Union Ship ­Recycling Regulation (EU SRR) on 31 December 2018 was a game changer, not so much for its increased technical ­requirements with regards to yard compliance, but for its provisions requiring facilities outside the EU to undergo a rigorous assessment and onsite audit by the European Commission.

It also became the first international regulation to ensure a level playing field among ship­recycling yards ­anywhere in the world.

Turkish yards seized the opportunity to demonstrate that their operations go beyond the requirements of the IMO’s Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (Hong Kong Convention) — whose remit stops at the gate of the yard.

They are also showcasing that waste management in Turkey is in compliance with EU environmental rules all the way to the final downstream waste processing and disposal. This was one of the most critical elements verified by EC auditors last year when they gave the green light for the first two Turkish facilities of the Leyal Ship Recycling Group to go on the EU's ­approved list of yards under the EU SRR.



Ship recycling at Aliaga, Turkey Photo: Ship Recyclers’ Association of Turkey

At least six more yards have gone through or are now undergoing inspection.

These eight companies form the backbone of Turkish shiprecycling, with a proven annual capacity in excess of 500,000 ldt, in effect doubling the EU list’s capacity when their inclusion is completed this year.

More facilities are now asking the Ship ­Recyclers’ Association of Turkey about the process and requirements for applying to be included on the list.

Turkey, with a proven shiprecycling capacity in ­excess of one million ldt per year, offers a big part of the solution to the capacity issue of the EU list.

It is a matter not only of ldt, but also of the size and type of ships that yards can handle. Our members have recycled all types of ships, from typical bulkers, tankers and containerships to larger floating storage and offloading units, floating production, storage and offloading vessels, drillships, drill rigs and even aircraft carriers, up to 50,000 ldt in the case of an FPSO converted from a VLCC.

"Turkey, with a proven shiprecycling capacity in excess of one million ldt per year, offers a big part of the solution to the capacity issue of the EU list"

It is, therefore, no coincidence that in recent years, Turkey’s role as a leading green shiprecycling destination has been recognised by oil and gas and offshore service companies such as Shell, Chevron, ENI, Transocean, SBM, Saipem, Technip, Subsea 7 and Schlumberger, as well as shipping giants AP Moller-Maersk, CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, CSL, MOL, NYK, K Line, Royal Boskalis and many others that no longer accept the unsafe, environmentally damaging disposal of vessels.

And with Turkey having been an EU accession country since the early 2000s, our authorities have ­already almost completed compliance with EU environmental rules, having transposed more than 200 pieces of EU environmental legislation into national law, including Europe’s main waste management legislation, the Waste Framework Directive.

The Turkish regulation on waste management ­entered into force in April 2015. This regulation has been based on European legal texts, aiming for synchronisation of Turkish law with the EU ­acquis.
Best of both worlds

In January this year, Turkey also became the first ­major shiprecycling nation to ratify the Hong Kong Convention, demonstrating that its focus is not only Europe but a global regime of safe and environmentally sound shiprecycling. This can be achieved only by taking the best of both worlds, namely the elevated requirements and uniform auditing mechanism of the EU SRR, coupled with the global reach of the Hong Kong Convention.

In this modern world of green shiprecycling, ­Turkey is already the leader on the ground and with ­respect to regulations, building on a paradigm shift in our attitude to health, safety and the environment.

Kamil Onal is president of the Ship Recyclers’ Association of Turkey
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