From Shipbreaking to Sustainable Ship Recycling

Evolution of a Legal Regime


Ship recycling conserves resources, employs an unskilled workforce, and removes outdated tonnage. Operating mainly on the Indian subcontinent, this ‘primitive’ industry often results in loss of human life and pollution of the marine environment. Despite moral indignation, the international community has struggled to manage this industry and only recently completed the IMO International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. Using the Indian experience on shipbreaking as a case study, this book assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the Convention. The author argues that the Convention may not succeed because it fails to strike a balance between environmental protection, human rights, and commercial realities. The book offers recommendations for a holistic and integrated approach to a sustainable ship recycling industry.

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Biographical Note

Tony George Puthucherril, LL.M. (Dalhousie) M.Phil (NUJS, India), was an Assistant Professor at the National Judicial Academy, India. Presently a J.S.D. candidate at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada, he has written on environmental, water, marine and nuclear legal and policy issues.

Review Quotes

“This very interesting work, in my view, constitutes an important contribution to critical scholarship in an emerging issue area. The author’s perspective, which includes an evaluation of the nascent IMO Convention on Ship Recycling and an extensive consideration of the potential role of the Indian Constitutional Court, is especially original and useful.”

Dr. Moira L. McConnell, Professor of Law
Marine & Environmental Law Institute
Dalhousie Law School, Halifax, Canada

"Given . . . the fact that ship-breaking is an area that is not properly understood, this book — published as part of the series, “Legal aspects of sustainable development” edited by David Freestone — is a welcome addition to the literature on the subject. Puthucherril spells out the principles of the Basel convention, taking pains to draw relevant quotes from a wide range of sources on the consequence of hazardous waste disposal in all its varied aspects. In logically arranged chapters, the book discusses in depth the ship-breaking business, the limitations of a national response, the contemporary international law on ship-recycling and so on." The Hindu, September 2010.


This book will be useful to practitioners and policy makers, as well as the academic community, with an interest in human rights, environmental and maritime law.

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