Lok Sabha last week (on December 3) passed The Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019, which seeks to restrict the use of hazardous material on ships, and regulates the recycling of ships.
The Bill, which was cleared by the Union Cabinet on November 20, was introduced in Parliament by Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh L Mandaviya on November 25.
Why is such a Bill important?
A government release issued at the time the Bill was cleared by the Cabinet pointed out that India is the leader in the global ship recycling industry, with a share of over 30% of the market.
As per the Review of Maritime Transport, 2018 report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in 2017, India demolished 6,323 tonnes of known ship scrapping worldwide.
The ship-recycling industry is a labour-intensive sector, the release said, and is susceptible to concerns on environmental safety.
To which ships will the law apply?
The Bill restricts and prohibits the use or installation of hazardous material, irrespective of whether a ship is meant for recycling or not.
For new ships, the restrictions/prohibitions will come into effect along with the law (when notified). Existing ships will have five years to comply with the requirements of the law.
According to a note on the Bill prepared by PRS Legislative Research, the Bill will apply to:
(i) any new or existing ship which is registered in India,
(ii) ships entering a port or terminal in India, or the territorial waters of India,
(iii) any warship, or other ship owned and operated by an administration and used on government non-commercial service, and
(iv) ship recycling facilities operating in India.
What exactly is meant by ‘ship recycling’?
The Bill defines this as the dismantling of a ship at a designated facility in order to recover its components and materials for reuse, and taking care of the hazardous material so produced.
Ship recycling includes associated operations such as storage and treatment of materials and components on site, the PRS note says.
Under the proposed law, ships will be recycled only in authorised recycling facilities. An application to authorise such a facility must be submitted to the Competent Authority notified by the central government, along with a ship recycling facility management plan and the prescribed fee.
All existing ship recycling facilities will be required to apply for authorisation within 60 days of the commencement of the Act. The certificate of authorisation will be valid for a period as specified, but not exceeding five years, according to the PRS note.