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Reducing the environmental impact from shipyards and developing a whole life strategy to measure and minimise the non-operational environmental impacts from shipping


The environmental impact of ships throughout their operational life is governed by the IMO Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI, mandatory for new ships), the Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan (SEEMP, all ships), as well as by IMO and EU GHG-targets for 2030 and 2050 respectively. In addition, the IMO Carbon Intensity Indicator (CII) for all cargo, RoPax and cruise vessels above 5,000 GT and trading internationally will come into effect in 2023. To ensure that ships at the end of their operational lives can be recycled and do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and harm to the environment, the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships was introduced in 2009. Furthermore the 2013 EU ship recycling regulation sets higher standards and requires that from 2019 ships have to be recycled within an approved facility. Furthermore, Green Passport and Green Passport EU may be assigned to ships by class societies which include an Inventory of on-board Hazardous Materials (IHM).

Assessment of a ships full environmental value chain misses in particular:

  • Sufficient data or industry standards to describe the characteristics of a ships non-hazardous materials which may contribute additional value from recovery, recycling and re-use. For example, in line with ""circular economy"" principals, a cradle-to-cradle material passport which is analogous to that applied within the building industry is missing.
  • Key performance indicators (KPI’s) addressing the environmental impact shipyard pollution to air, water and earth caused by shipbuilding, ship maintenance, repair, retrofit and dismantling. High performance and clean production processes.
  • The contribution from the shipyards towards ship design and the application of non-hazardous recyclable materials beyond the current IHM-passport.
  • Guidance concerning best practices to minimise the non-operational environmental impacts from shipping considering construction, materials, capacity to repair, design and capacity for recycling. For example, including difficult materials such as plastic composites.

Activities will address the greening of shipyards, facilitating clean, efficient, low-energy processes which minimise pollution to air, water and earth and contribute to increasing ship circularity.

Proposals should address all of the following points:

  • Develop and validate an environmental performance index with corresponding KPI’s and determine a benchmark for shipyards through an investigation of shipyard floor processes, logistics and utilities i.e. energy use and emissions to air, water and earth, taking into account current environmental regulations, including those applicable to other land-based industries which may apply to shipyards.
  • Identify the contribution of shipyards and ship design to the circular life cycle of ships in terms of reuse of components and materials within the context of shipyard processes, the shipbuilding value chain, capacity for repair and refit, end of life circularity and disposal value/cost. Considering also difficult materials such as reinforced plastics.
  • Develop and validate a digital shipyard model encompassing shipyard floor technologies and logistic processes with the associated energy use and emissions, links to safety (e.g. ventilation to reduce indoor VOC’s increasing energy consumption), enabling the assessment and benchmarking of the environmental performance of shipyards and the impact of “clean floor” technologies on shipyards.
  • Develop and validate in line with the “Green Passport” a material circularity passport for maritime assets and identify the role of the manufacturing and design value chain stakeholders to apply best practices to increase circularity, reduce life cycle impacts and optimise end of life value. Foresee the compilation and maintenance of the passport over the ship lifecycle.
  • Plan for the exploitation and dissemination of results should include a strong business case and sound exploitation strategy. The exploitation plans should include preliminary plans for scaling up application, wider commercialisation, and deployment (feasibility study, business plan), if necessary indicating the possible funding sources to be potentially used.