The Regulation first prohibits or restricts the installation and use of hazardous materials (like asbestos or ozone-depleting substances) on board ships.

New European ships and EU-flagged ships going for dismantling must also have on board an inventory of hazardous materials (IHM) verified by the relevant administration or authority and specifying the location and approximate quantities of those materials. This obligation will also apply from 31 December 2020 to all existing ships sailing under the flag of Member States of the Union as well as to ships flying the flag of a third country and calling at an EU port or anchorage.

This will facilitate the recycling of vessels and reduce the presence of toxic materials on board ships. In November 2016, EMSA, the European Maritime Safety Agency, published a Best Practice Guidance on the Inventory of Hazardous Materialsfor practitioners on the field, ship owners and national authorities. EU Member States' port authorities will control ships to verify whether they have on board a ready-for-recycling certificate or a valid inventory of hazardous materials.

The European List of ship recycling facilities

From 31 December 2018, large commercial seagoing vessels flying the flag of an EU Member State may be recycled only in safe and sound ship recycling facilities included in the European List of ship recycling facilities. More information on this list and the criteria that ship recycling facilities must meet to be included in this list can be found here.

The EU Regulation and the Hong Kong Convention

The Regulation brings forward the requirements of the 2009 Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, therefore contributing to its global entry into force. The Regulation also includes additional safety and environmental requirements, as authorised by Article 1(2) of the Convention. The Hong Kong Convention has not entered into force. More information on global ship recycling policies can be found here.

The Ship Recycling Regulation and the Waste Shipment Regulation

To ensure legal clarity and avoid administrative burden, EU-flagged ships covered by the Ship Recycling Regulation are excluded from the scope of the Waste Shipment Regulation (EC) 1013/2006.