Course charted

Published: Sunday 31 August 2003

The draft guidelines on ship recycling, finalised at a meeting of the Marine Environment Protection Committee (mepc) of the International Maritime Organisation (imo), have recognised that the prevailing environmental standards in shipyards are often woefully inadequate. The imo is the un agency responsible for the safety of shipping and preventing marine pollution by ships. The steps outlined during meeting, which was held in London, will now be submitted to the 23rd imo assembly later this year for adoption.

It was noted that while the countries in which shipbreaking is done are responsible for conditions in the yard, other stakeholders must also partake in minimising problems. Significantly, these guidelines are voluntary rather than mandatory. Discarded ships contain a wide range of hazardous substances including asbestos, lead and cadmium compounds, and substances contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls.

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