Washington International Law Journal


Ishtiaque Ahmed


The Basel Convention has tempted developed nations into the practice of exporting hazardous waste into undeveloped nations’ territories simply for money in the name of recycling. Being extremely business unfriendly, particularly for the recycling industry, this convention has not been welcomed by many developing nations, leading to serious policy and legal uncertainty in those jurisdictions. However, in the absence of any dedicated, enforceable international legal instrument, the Basel Convention currently remains the foundation of ship-recycling jurisprudence in the domestic courts of all dominant, ship-recycling states and the rest of the world, and the basis for curbing the movement of end-of-life ships proceeding to undeveloped states for recycling. Considerable debate exists amongst major stakeholders about the Basel Convention’s application to end-of-life ships. Stakeholders associated with global shipping and the ship-recycling industry, including the governments of ship-owning states, firmly maintain that the Convention does not apply to the cross-border movement of end-of-life ships. On the other side, environmental activists strongly argue that the Convention should regulate end-of-life ships as hazardous waste. Through a doctrinal analysis breaking down key terms and provisions, this article seeks to address the contentious questions on the Basel Convention’s relevance to end-of-life ships and their movement.

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