With the Rajya Sabha passing the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 to regulate the ship recycling sector, explain why such a bill was needed and its provision?

Published: December 9, 2019

Recently The Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019, was passed which seeks to restrict the use of hazardous material on ships, and regulates the recycling of ships.

The recently passed Bill defines the dismantling of a ship at a designated facility to recover its components and materials for reuse, and taking care of the hazardous material produced in the process as ‘Ship Recycling’. 

The Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 is important as according to government sources India is a world leader in the global ship recycling industry, with a share of over 30% of the market. In a report by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Indian ship-recycling industry managed to demolish more than 6,000 tonnes of known ship scrapping worldwide. India is home to one of the largest ship breaking facilities in the world with over 150 yards along its coast.

The industry is a very labour-intensive sector, which provides much-needed employment to India, but there exist substantial environmental safety concerns. 

The Bill has tightened health and environmental regulation of the sector and has restricted the use or installation of hazardous material, irrespective of whether a ship is meant for recycling or not. For new ships, the restrictions will come into effect along with the law for existing ships, they will have five years to comply with the requirements of the law.

The bill will apply to-

  • Any new or existing ship which is registered in India.
  • Ships entering a port or terminal in India, or the territorial waters of India.
  • Any warship, or other ship owned and operated by an administration and used on government non-commercial service.
  • Ship recycling facilities operating in India.

Under the law, ships will have to be recycled in only authorised recycling facilities. To authorise such a facility an application must be submitted to the Competent Government Authority notified by the Union government, along with required fees and a ship recycling facility management plan.

Every single existing ship recycling facility will be mandated by law to apply for authorisation within sixty days of the commencement of the Act. The certificate of authorisation will be valid for a period of no more than 5 years.

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