44. U.S. Statement re roles of ILO and IMO in resolving issues presented in Basel Convention (October 2004)


U.S. Statement on Ship Dismantling, COP VII

Geneva, Switzerland

October 2004


We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chair of the ship dismantling group for his excellent leadership, as well as to the participants of the group for their constructive deliberations.


The United States again reiterates its concern regarding the health and environmental impacts of ship dismantling.  We believe that the steps taken at this meeting, together with developments in the IMO and the upcoming work of the Joint Working Group of the IMO, ILO and Basel Convention will lead to the establishment of a practical, workable and effective approach towards ensuring that ships are dismantled in an environmentally sound manner and in a manner that protects the environment and the health and safety of workers engaged in scrapping.


As we have noted throughout this meeting, any practical solution to the issue of ship dismantling is best achieved initially through coordination at the national level, between environment, transport, and other relevant ministries, in order to ensure that delegations have a coordinated and unified position with respect to this issue.  Such coordination will facilitate cooperation - rather than competition -- between the ILO, IMO and the Basel Convention and facilitate progress towards a real, practical solution.


In this regard, the United States believes that the principal elements of any such solution are likely to be best developed through the IMO.  We note that, in fact, paragraph 5 of CRP.21, invites the IMO to continue its consideration of the development of a mandatory reporting or notification system.  The Joint Working Group’s consideration of the issue should also focus on the practical and workable, rather than being sidetracked on legal issues regarding specific obligations under existing instruments.


With respect to the first operative paragraph of CRP.21, which reminds Parties to fulfill their obligations under the Basel Convention, where applicable, we would like to make clear our view that the obligations of the Basel Convention do not generally apply to the transboundary movements of ships, as ships are not classified as hazardous wastes.  We do not believe that continued debate of these legal issues would be fruitful, and look forward to the development of a cooperative practical international approach to address the health and environmental problems associated with ship dismantling.”