Shipowners Attempt to Blunt Criticism Through Ship Recycling Efforts

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Faced with increasing economic pressures, many shipowners are looking at downsizing fleets and disposing of older vessels. The challenge has been to address environmental concerns and increasing restrictions while retiring older or worn-out vessels. While in very different sectors of the shipping business, Carnival Cruise Line and Evergreen Marine Corporation each are highlighting their efforts to be more environmentally responsible while disposing of older tonnage.

For the first time in its nearly 50-year history, Carnival Cruise Line sold two of its cruise ships for what it is calling responsible recycling. Delivering the cruise ships the Carnival Fantasy and the Carnival Inspiration to be dismantled in Turkey, Carnival is highlighting the involvement of maritime reclamation and recycling specialists in the process.  

According to Carnival’s announcement, it took efforts to ensure that a complete inventory of hazardous and regulated materials will be undertaken before the dismantling begins as well as determining the procedures planned for safely removing and processing the materials in an environmentally friendly way. The ships will be stripped of machinery, electronic equipment, glass, wood, and other materials that can be directly upcycled for reuse in new ships, used in ship repair, or repurposed for other applications. Steel and metal scraps will be salvaged and recycled for direct use or be sent to the mill for producing other products and goods. 

As another example to create greater transparency in ship disposals, Evergreen Marine Corporation became a signatory to the Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative (SRTI). Hosted by the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, it is an online platform where members report on their ship recycling policies and activities against a set of predefined disclosure criteria. Shippers and other stakeholders have access to the shipowners’ information and can use it to make judgments about an owner’s commitment to acting responsibly in disposing of vessels. 

“When a vessel is decommissioned and recycling is planned, not only can valuable and reusable resources be recovered but potentially dangerous waste and pollutants must be processed properly,” Evergreen said in its statement. “Recycling operations with the highest standards of safety available must be utilized. We are therefore pleased to share our recycling policies by joining SRTI and helping lead a growing industry initiative to demand more responsible ship recycling in the future.”

According to Evergreen, its decision to join SRTI is part of its efforts to ensure responsible and sustainable operations wherever they touch the environment. Consideration of the environmental impact of a vessel’s operation throughout its life-cycle is part of Evergreen’s policy and will be reflected by its participation in SRTI. When planning its current fleet renewal strategy, Evergreen says that it will also incorporate strict recycling standards for the disposal of vessels. 

Speaking about trends in ship recycling, Andrew Stephens, Executive Director of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative said, “Evergreen Marine joins a growing SRTI family that includes like-minded shipowners who are holding themselves to account before key stakeholders, including clients, investors, and the wider public. This includes an increasingly diverse range of stakeholders engaging on the topics of data and transparency, circularity, and the role of financial stakeholders in sustainable and responsible ship recycling in the absence of global regulation.”

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