Ship Recycling: UAE Implements Stringent Regulations to Prohibit Beaching
The UAE Ship Recycling Regulation (UAE SRR) has ushered in a new era for ship recycling practices, emphasizing stringent measures and setting high standards for facilities. Effective from March 29, 2024, the UAE SRR coincides with a comprehensive update to the country’s maritime law after a span of 42 years. This overhaul marks a pivotal moment, bringing about significant changes to the maritime landscape.
One of the fundamental changes introduced by the revamped maritime law is the liberalization of the national ship registry. Previously, the law mandated a closed national registry, restricting ship ownership to UAE nationals or companies with 51% ownership by UAE nationals. The updated law takes a more inclusive approach, allowing foreign ship owners to hold 100% shares, provided they establish a genuine link by having their management company based in the UAE.
Specifically addressing ship recycling, the UAE SRR applies to various categories of ships, including UAE-flagged ships, foreign ships recycled in the UAE, foreign ships deciding to recycle while in UAE waters, and foreign ships beginning their final journey for recycling directly from UAE waters. New ships under the UAE flag must now carry an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) on board, detailing the location, quantity, and nature of hazardous materials.
For existing UAE-flagged ships, compliance with IHM requirements is mandatory by June 26, 2030, or before undergoing recycling. Ship owners are bound by specific obligations, such as notifying the administration before initiating recycling, minimizing residues, and submitting information for the Ship Recycling Plan. This plan, specific to each ship, requires explicit approval from the Maritime Administration if the recycling facility is within the UAE.
To ensure compliance, Port State Control inspections will verify the presence of valid certificates on board, focusing on hazardous material inventory and recycling readiness. This strategic alignment of the UAE SRR with the maritime law changes aims to attract responsible shipowners who are now obligated to recycle their vessels in approved facilities, adhering to elevated standards for worker safety and environmental protection.
A notable departure from its predecessor is the explicit prohibition of beaching and landing practices, aligning the UAE SRR with the European Ship Recycling Regulation (EU SRR). The hazardous material inventory of the UAE SRR not only incorporates the list of the EU SRR but also includes two additional materials – Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and Brominated Flame Retardant (HBCDD).
The regulation mandates that ships destined for scrapping undergo recycling exclusively in facilities approved or licensed by the UAE maritime administration, whether within the UAE or abroad. Foreign vessels engaging in beaching or substandard recycling practices are prohibited from entering UAE waters. This measure not only safeguards the local environment but also raises the bar for responsible recycling practices on a global scale.
The UAE SRR also places a strong emphasis on the proper management of hazardous waste resulting from ship recycling. Strict controls are implemented to enhance safety measures during the recycling process, ensuring that potential environmental hazards are minimized. A significant departure from its predecessor, the UAE SRR explicitly bans beaching and landing practices, aligning itself with the European Ship Recycling Regulation (EU SRR). Going beyond the Hazardous Materials list of the EU SRR, the UAE SRR introduces two additional materials – Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and Brominated Flame Retardant (HBCDD) – to its hazardous material inventory.
Violations of the UAE SRR will carry penalties and legal actions, with specific details to be announced in the near future. The overarching goal of the regulation is not only to enforce compliance but also to foster the development of high-standard ship recycling facilities. In doing so, the UAE Ministry of Infrastructure aims to promote sustainable practices in the maritime industry, emphasizing the importance of responsible and environmentally conscious ship recycling. The UAE SRR stands as a beacon for the future, signaling a commitment to a cleaner, safer, and more sustainable maritime sector.