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New EU Environment and Recycling Regulations for Yachts in 2021

26 Nov 2020

In 2009, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) recognised the lack of regulatory control for the responsible recycling of ships, predominantly addressing consideration towards safety and environmental impact – this led to the IMO subsequently established the worldwide 'Hong Kong Convention on Ship Recycling'. Realising that this global rollout would likely not progress quickly enough into Europe, the European Union have ruled that all vessels over 500 GT (gross tons) entering European ports from 31 December 2020 onwards will have to be certified by a Classification Society to comply to EU Ship Recycling Regulations and maintain an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM). 

An age-old trade, the idea of ship recycling often conjures up scenes of ships being broken up on a beach. In reality, this is rarely the case, and yachts are often in service for more than 100 years post build. Today, with the use of fibreglass hulls and other virtually non-destructible materials increasing, the need for breaking up and/or recycling yachts is expected to increase dramatically. Environmental awareness has changed, and at a time when we pay recycling fees on dishwashers and TV’s, it is only logical to also establish inventories of hazardous materials for yachts. This will ensure that no harmful substances or materials are disposed of into the environment and are instead responsibly recycled or destroyed, protecting the sensitive environment of our blue planet for years to come.

Ahead of the curve in 2012, Ocean Independence delivered M/Y SEA RHAPSODY to her proud new owners with ground-breaking recognition. Based on the initiative of Ocean Independence, supported by a visionary Owner and alongside a highly competent shipyard, this Amels 212 was the first large yacht in the world to be awarded the “Green Passport” by Lloyds Register, a forerunner of the new IHM regulations. Qualification for the Green Passport requires the builder to put together a highly detailed list which identifies and locates all materials that have been used in the yacht’s construction.

As supporters and practitioners of environmentally friendly yacht management, we are delighted to see that what seemed a significant and forward-thinking idea to us a decade ago has now been internationally adapted for vessels above 500 GT. Of course, it is only a matter of time until smaller yachts will have to follow similar standards, in order to protect our oceans from all hazards, large and small.

As industry professionals, and on behalf of our owners and clients, Ocean Independence wholeheartedly welcomes this specific development of EU regulations for ship recycling as we enter 2021. We look forward to – and will continue to support, endorse, and implement – all similar safety and environmental initiatives that are formally introduced in the future. 

For more information on these new regulations or for guidance on compliance, please contact the Ocean Independence yacht management team at [email protected].

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