Navigating the Future: Transforming Ship Recycling in Turkey
In a recent report titled “Ship Recycling in Turkey: Challenges and Future Direction,” the NGO Shipbreaking Platform sheds light on the current hurdles faced by the ship recycling sector in Aliağa, Turkey. The report not only identifies the challenges but also outlines a compelling path forward for the industry, emphasizing the need for sustainable practices.
The significance of this analysis is underscored by Turkey’s pivotal position, marked by the announcement of plot sales in October 2023 and the impending expiration of public land leases in 2026. This juncture presents a unique opportunity to instigate positive change within Turkey’s ship recycling industry, a point emphasized by Ekin Sakin, Policy Officer at NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
Sakin urges the Ministries of Environment, Labour, and Transport to seize this moment, facilitating a seamless transition toward sustainable practices. To fortify the resilience of the industry, he stresses the importance of addressing existing regulatory gaps through forward-thinking legislation and advocates for investments in safer and cleaner technologies such as cold cutting and dry docks.
The report identifies key operational priorities that demand immediate attention. These include establishing effective drainage channels, employing oil-water separators for wastewater treatment, implementing third-party verification of hazardous materials during dismantling, ensuring proper operations for hazardous waste removal, and setting standards for secure pulling and lifting equipment. Additionally, the adoption of proper gas-free operations and cold-cutting techniques is highlighted as crucial.
Ensuring oversight of the sector, the report calls for a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that defines licensing processes, enforces legal instruments for permitting and monitoring, and incorporates considerations for both safety and environmental aspects. Continuous monitoring of the environment in and around ship recycling yards is deemed essential to identify sources of pollution and develop effective remediation strategies. Furthermore, occupational health monitoring is emphasized to identify the root causes of accidents and work-related illnesses.
As Aslı Odman from the Istanbul Worker’s Health and Safety Watch points out, prioritizing the health and safety of ship recycling workers is paramount. She underscores the interconnectedness of worker health, public health, and environmental health, advocating for a comprehensive approach to address both labor and environmental concerns.
The report draws attention to the removal of two yards in Aliağa from the EU list of approved ship recycling facilities while allowing other non-compliant yards to remain listed. This lack of governance, allowing yards to operate without Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) or adequate monitoring, highlights the need for more frequent and unannounced EU inspections. The report recommends cross-referencing hazardous waste records and incorporating workers’ perspectives and experiences in these evaluations.
Acknowledging the pivotal role of the European Union (EU) in driving improvements, the report recommends strengthening the criteria for ship recycling under the EU Ship Recycling Regulation. The call is for enhanced standards in waste management and steel recovery operations, aligning with the recent steps taken by the UAE to shape the future direction of the industry and transition to dry docks.
Ingvild Jenssen, Executive Director and Founder of NGO Shipbreaking Platform, urges the EU to require cleaner technologies, aligning with the recent strides taken by the UAE. This recommendation aligns with the ongoing review of the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, positioning both Turkey and the EU at a crossroads. The report urges the EU to adopt a forward-looking approach that mandates cleaner technologies and sets the tone for the industry’s sustainable future.
In conclusion, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s report serves as a comprehensive guide for navigating the challenges and opportunities in Turkey’s ship recycling industry. By emphasizing the need for sustainable practices, legislative reforms, and international collaboration, the report sets a clear path for the transformation of the ship recycling sector. As Turkey stands at a crossroads, the decisions made in the coming years will not only shape the future of its ship recycling industry but will also contribute to global efforts in promoting environmentally friendly and socially responsible practices in maritime activities.