ISO aims to regulate shipbreaking

Workers who dismantle decommissioned ships could be better protected after the publication of a new ISO document on shipbreaking.

The ISO publicly available specification (PAS) 30003 will be available for bodies that audit and certify ship recycling management.

It aims to help increase the safety of workers and protection of the environment in an industry known for health and safety failings in some parts of the world, such as Asia.

A full ISO standard is expected to follow at a later date.

"Certification is a recognized means for an organization to provide assurance that it has effectively implemented a system for ship recycling management," said Captain Charles Piersall, chair of the International Organisation for Standardisation's technical committee on ships.

"Clearly the independent third party certification provides the highest level of confidence to the customer - industry or government - in meeting their expectations.

"ISO/PAS 30003, as a publicly available specification, will address an urgent market demand, while awaiting the publication of this useful document as a full International Standard.

Although the document is mainly targeted at third party audit and certification bodies, it can be used by any organization involved in the assessing the management of ship recycling.

It will provide guidance for bodies applying for ISO 30000 registration or certification, define the rules for auditing and certifying ship recycling management systems.

ISO chiefs said the document will also give customers confidence about the way their waste ships have been handled.

It will work alongside the ISO 30000 on ship recycling management, which also promotes the safety of workers and preservation of the environment, as well as the recovery and reuse of steel and other materials.

Work is underway on a number of other standards which will define best practices for the ship recycling facilities themselves, information control for hazardous materials and guidelines for measures to prevent asbestos emissions and exposure in ships recycling.

It is estimated that thousands of shipyard workers in countries such as India and China die as a result of work-related diseases and accidents (see related story).

Kate Martin



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