In detail: Enforcing the EU Ship Recycling Regulation

Last month, The Merchant Shipping Directorate published a notice concerning the enforcement of the EU Ship Recycling Regulation No. 1257/2013[1], relating to the Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM). Through Merchant Shipping Notice 163. Rev.1[2], the Directorate draws the attention of Ship-owners, Ship Operators, Managers, Masters, Owners’ Representatives and Recognised Organisations, to their obligation to carry onboard a Certificate or Statement of Compliance (as applicable) on IHM, effective as from 31 December 2020.  The IHM reference document provides both technical information and procedural guidance, contributing to the harmonised implementation and enforcement of the provisions of the Ship Recycling Regulation and the port State control Directorate.

Banning of Cybutryne

Following the publication of the Guidance on the inclusion of Cybutryne in the IHM requirements under Regulation (EU) No. 1257/2013[3] by the European Maritime Safety Agency (ESMA), ships have been prohibited from applying or re-applying anti-fouling systems containing cybutryne, effective as from the 1st of January 2023.  Cybutryne (also known as Irgarol-1051) has been applied to hulls of ships as an anti-fouling agent by inhibiting the electron transport in algae and plants.  Following several studies, the toxicity and persistence of Cybutryne has been well recognised as a significant environmental risk[4].

Brand new vessels built on or after 1 January 2023 shall be delivered cybutyrne free, and consequently, shall have onboard an IHM showing record that there is no cybutryne in their anti-fouling system.    All existing ships which have anti-fouling systems containing cybutryne in their external coating layer of their hulls, must either remove the anti-fouling system, or apply a new coating forming a barrier to this substance to cover the non-compliant anti-fouling system and prevent leaching.  This shall be done at the next scheduled renewal of the anti-fouling system after 1st January 2023, but no later than 60 months following the last application to the ship of an anti-fouling system containing cybutryne.  In such cases, before the vessel’s next IHM renewal survey, the shipowners shall record whether cybutryne is present in the ship’s antifouling system.

It must be highlighted that this new obligation on existing ships could result in an increase in costs for concerned parties.  Thus, ship-owners, ship operators, managers, masters, owners’ representatives and recognised organisations are encouraged to be pro-active and explore different options to be compliant, without incurring excess costs in doing so.  Furthermore, paint manufacturers are to be consulted for compliance options for new vessels, and in the case of existing vessels with anti-fouling systems containing cybutryne, arrangements are to be made to remove the existing anti-fouling system or apply a sealing coating in compliance with the above-mentioned requirements.

Exceptions for existing coating systems are given for installations that have been constructed prior to January 1, 2023, and that have not been in dry-dock on or after January 1, 2023, specifically:

  1. Fixed and floating platforms;
  2. Floating Storage Units (FSUs);
  3. Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSOs);
  4. Ships not engaged in international voyages; and
  5. Ships of less than 400 gross tonnage engaged in international voyages, if accepted by the coastal state(s).

EU Ship Recycling Regulation Notices

Finally, Merchant Shipping Notice 163. Rev.1 also emphasizes that the shipping community is to be aware of Merchant Shipping Notices 147 and 154 concerning the implementation of the EU Ship Recycling Regulation and requests the cooperation of all parties concerned.  The EU Regulation sets out various responsibilities for ship owners of EU flagged vessels as well as for ship recycling facilities, as explained in further detail in this article[5]Notice 147[6] provides that in terms of the Regulation, the installation or use of Hazardous Materials as listed in Annex I of such Regulation shall be prohibited and/or restricted in accordance with the definitions and control measures set out in the said Annex I.

Notice 154[7] then provides that ships falling under the scope of the Regulation are expected to have on board an Inventory Certificate (IC) or a Ready for Recycling Certificate (RfRC) (as applicable).  Such certificate would cease to be valid if the condition of the ship does not correspond substantially with the particulars of the Inventory Certificate, including where Part I of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) document has not been properly maintained and updated.

In lieu of the above, it is to be noted that ships which are non-compliant with any of the provisions of the EU Ship Recycling Regulation and the Maltese Merchant Shipping (Ship Recycling) Regulations may be fined up to five thousand units.  Consequently, all concerned parties including Ship-owners, Ship Operators, Managers, Masters, Owners’ Representatives and Recognised Organisations should be knowledgeable on said Regulations to, not only avoid being penalised for non-compliance, but also to safeguard the environment as a whole.