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Scrapping end-of-lifers is tall order for Europe

BRUSSELS ~ A two-year study of Europe’s growing fleet of abandoned polyester boats says a huge task lies ahead if the continent is to safely scrap end-of-life craft. It says there is much ignorance about boat recycling among owners and the industry. Scrapping programs range from well-organized in France to non-existing elsewhere. Consequently, costs vary greatly.

Since 2009, France has dismantled/recycled up to 4,000 recreational and small fishing boats, the report found. The country has 52 scrapping sites and 20 scrapping companies. In France, 13,000 boats reach the end of the life annually. Dismantling/recycling costs range from €500 to €3,000. Dutch recycler Roy Goossens puts those costs in his country at €2,000 and €5,000.

In the Netherlands, some 25.000 old boats lie neglected in marinas, waterways and backyards. Their number grows by 1,000 a year, says Erwin Klok of the Netherlands Yachtbuilding Industry trade group. He warns that today some scrap yards do no dispose of old boats in an environmentally safe manner.

On average, Europe’s end-of-lifers are 35 years old and most are under 8m. Some 95% are made polyester and started coming onto the market in the 1970s. The BOAT Digest report says 8 out of 10 owners have never heard of a place where boats are scrapped, nor have they ever seen any information about safe boat disposal. It says it is urgent that boating organizations and the industry mount significant educational campaigns.

The report is mum on the number of Europe’s end-of-lifers. France and Finland, it says, offer a complete solution in boat disposal, Sweden is creating a scheme, Norway has pilot projects. “Some companies accept to dispose of boats” in Italy, Britain and Spain, says the report. The report is also mum on who should pay for dismantling and recycling or how costs should be assessed. The European Boating Association, the boat owners lobby, says boat makers should pay.

www.boatdigest.eu | www.europeanboatingindustry.eu

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