20 October 2016

Maersk to stop selling its decommissioned ships

Shipper pledges to take more responsibility in light of criticism of its scrapping methods

The scrap shipyard in Bangladesh is dangerous and dirty (photo: Naquib Hossain)

On the heels of the troubling affair concerning the oil tanker ‘North Sea Producer’, which after 32 years of service for Maersk is being scrapped at a notorious yard in Bangladesh, the Danish shipping company is changing course, according to Politiken.

Maersk now says that if a ship is no longer viable, it will take responsibility for getting it scrapped and not sell it. This will ensure that the dismantling occurs according to Maersk’s own rules on ship recycling that take into account worker safety, the environment and the risk of corruption.

A dangerous and toxic environment
When the dismantling takes place on an open beach, as is the case in India and Bangladesh, where ships are disassembled by hand by workers without safety equipment, there is a high risk of serious accidents.

This year alone, 17 workers at Chittagong Beach in Bangladesh have been killed while scrapping ships. The process also pollutes the seas with oil and other toxins from the ship.

It is under circumstances like those that workers in Bangladesh are currently dismantling the ‘North Sea Producer’. The ship was in Maersk’s service until it was sold in April of this year and wound up on the beach in Bangladesh last August.

Maersk admits that it currently has no control over the dispensation of its former ship. As a direct consequence, Maersk has introduced new rules.

New rules
When Maersk sells a ship from here on out, the value of continuing to sail the ship is weighed against the potential net benefits of scrapping it.

If the ship is so worn that the potential financial gain of keeping it in service is less than 25 percent of the scrap value, then Maersk will not sell it, but take responsibility for the ship being scrapped by the company’s rules.

Source: CPH Post. 18 October 2016

European industry, trade unions and NGOs jointly support the EESC’s call for a financial incentive to enhance sustainable ship recycling:

Brussels, 20 October 2016 - Today, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) adopted an own initiative opinion that calls on the European Commission to introduce an incentive that will “eliminate the abuses of irresponsible ship dismantling through a system which creates added value in an end-of-life ship”. SEA Europe, IndustriAll Europe and the NGO Shipbreaking Platform join the EESC in supporting an incentive that will make sure ships are recycled in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

“European ship recycling companies are competitive with regards to sustainability and should be encouraged by an enabling public policy that will push ship owners towards the use of these facilities as well as enhance R&D towards more cost effective solutions in Europe,” says Christophe Tytgat, Secretary General of SEA Europe.

The aim of a financial incentive is to make sure that ship owners use the upcoming EU list of approved ship recycling facilities and do not simply circumvent the EU Ship Recycling Regulation by flagging out to a non-EU ship registry. The EESC opinion supports a financial incentive that recognises the responsibility of the ship owner through the ‘polluter pays principle’ and builds the cost of responsible recycling into ship operating costs.

“The social and environmental impacts of shipbreaking on the beaches of South Asia can no longer be viewed as an externality and should be accounted for in shipping companies’ individual accounts. Introducing a financial incentive at the EU level is feasible and in line with established legal principles. It also brings with it the promise of ensuring compliance with environmental and social standards aimed at improving ship recycling conditions globally”, says Ingvild Jenssen, Policy Director and Founder of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

Ensuring sustainable ship recycling fits well with the EU’s aim of achieving a truly circular economy where valuable resources are not only reused, but also recycled in a safe and environmentally sound manner. The EU list of ship recycling facilities will function as an important market differentiator for yards that have already invested in proper occupational health, safety and environmental standards.

“Shipbreaking on the beaches of South Asia is considered by the ILO as one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. Incentivising sustainable practices is necessary for the creation of decent jobs in the ship recycling sector,” says Luis Colunga, Deputy General Secretary of IndustriALL Europe.

SEA Europe, the European Ships and Maritime Equipment Association is the voice of the European maritime technology industry. SEA Europe promotes and supports European business enterprises which are involved in the building, construction, maintenance and repair of all types of ships and other relevant maritime structures, including the complete supply chain of systems, equipment and services. www.seaeurope.eu

IndustriAll European Trade Union represents 6.9 million working men and women across supply chains in manufacturing, mining and energy sectors across Europe. IndustriAll Europe aims to protect and advance the rights of these workers. www.industriall-europe.eu

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform is a global coalition of 19 environmental, human rights and labour rights organisations working to prevent the dangerous pollution and unsafe working conditions caused when end-of-life ships containing toxic materials in their structure are freely traded in the global marketplace. www.shipbreakingplatform.org


Ingvild Jenssen
Policy Director & Founder
NGO Shipbreaking Platform
+32 2 6094 420

Source: NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

Maersk to send more ships to Alang for recycling

India: Maersk Line, the world's largest container shipping company, will send more end-of-life vessels to India's shipbreaking yards at Alang for recycling. 'Our objective is to recycle our vessels in the most responsible way and at the same time at a competitive price,' Maersk Group's head of sustainability Annette Stube has told the Indian media.

The company, which operates a fleet of more than 600 large container vessels, has been recycling its ships in China and Turkey but has decided to look at India as an alternative destination, partly for financial reasons. It has already sent two vessels - Maersk Wyoming and Maersk Georgia - to the Shree Ram Vessel Scrap yard at Alang for dismantling following an 'extensive audit' of its facilities.

Maersk expects 'many more' ships to be dispatched to Alang over the next five years as the company will need to recycle 'more vessels than before'. 'We are coming to India as it gives us an opportunity to push development in the local ship recycling industry,' stressed Stube. 'We have seen development in India where four yards have started operating at far superior levels.'

The company is working with local shipbreakers as well as the Gujarat Maritime Board to drive improvements at Asia's largest shipbreaking hub. Maersk is helping local shipbreakers to achieve 'high standards' in line with the International Maritime Organization and Hong Kong Convention which set occupational health and safety standards for workers.

Source: recycling international. 19 October 2016

19 October 2016

Farmers group opposes ship recycling plant in Hinobaan

A GROUP of farmers is opposing the planned construction of a ship recycling plant at Sitio Salvacion in Hinobaan town.

Felipe Gelle Jr., advocacy officer of Magsasaka at Siyentista para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (Masipag)-Negros, said in a press conference Monday at the Negros Press Club office that they are concerned over the environmental impact in the area once the ship breaking plant comes into service.

Gelle pointed out the coasts of Hinoba-an and the neighboring city of Sipalay are rich in marine life, citing that the exact area where the facility will stand is home to an almost a decade old mangrove forest.

The group also expressed concern over the displacement of several communities in the area, who are making a living through organic farming and fishing.

“The residents are defending the area because their livelihood, farms, and fishing spots are on the line,” Gelle said.

“We already formed a fact-finding mission to gather data on the proposed project,” he said.

Last month, Estrao said the proposed ship recycling facility owned by Balamban, Cebu, based Tsuneishi Heavy Industries Incorporated will generate almost 3,000 to 5,000 jobs.

Estrao said the site is tagged as an industrial zone, and was previously owned by Insular Lumber Company.

Aside from the ship recycling facility, there is also a proposal to build a car recycling plant, a biomass plant, a soybean oil plant in the area, and reactivate the town’s airstrip, Gelle said.

Source: sun star. 18 October 2016

18 October 2016

Maersk Defends Controversial Use of Alang Shipbreaking Yards

COPENHAGEN, Oct 17 (Reuters) – Shipping conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk said on Monday it was striving to improve workers’ rights at shipbreaking yards it uses in India after criticisms of hazardous conditions.

Maersk Line

The Danish company also expressed regret that a ship it sold this year, the “North Sea Producer”, had then been taken to a shipbreaking yard in Bangladesh, after Danish media last week showed workers using precarious rope ladders to climb the hull.

Most shipping companies send old ships to shipbreaking yards in India, Bangladesh or Pakistan because they will dismantle container ships almost as long as three soccer pitches at relatively cheap prices.

Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipper, sent two of its vessels for decommissioning this summer to the Shree Ram yard in Alang on India’s west coast.

“We have established a cooperation with Shree Ram and brought our ships to Shree Ram yard 78, knowing that the standards were not yet at the level of our standards,” Maersk spokesman Simon Mehl Augustesen said.

“We consider our active presence in Shree Ram and Alang to improve conditions faster and more effectively, than waiting for our standards to be complied with,” he said.

Shree Ram says that it safeguards workers’ rights.

But a lack of employment contracts and toxic fumes were among findings by the Danish media watchdog Danwatch and two Danish media outlets, TV 2 and Politiken, in a collaborative report documenting conditions for Indian workers at the shipbreaking yard.

“Maersk has a decent set of safety rules for this kind of work, which it says are being followed in India, but when you see how it actually works, they don’t abide by them,” said Peter Hasle, a professor at Alborg University in Denmark and a specialist in occupational health and safety.

He cited exposed gas cables, poor ventilation and a lack of safety equipment at Shree Ram as examples of non-compliance.

The shipbreaking business is considered to be one of the world’s most hazardous occupations and highly polluting, according to the International Labour Organization.

Shipbreaker yards use a method called “beaching”, whereby large ships are propelled forward at high tide, leaving them high and dry at low tide, ready to be cut up.

“The working conditions are far more dangerous and less organized in Bangladesh, than in India,” Hasle said. Maersk told local broadcaster TV2 it was “very, very sorry” that the “North Sea Producer” ended up in Bangladesh after it was sold, to a U.S. company, according to Politiken.

Danish politicians criticised Maersk on Sunday, saying the company should monitor what happens to its ships more closely.

An average of 1,000 ships are demolished each year globally, and more than 70 percent end up in South Asia, according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. (Editing by Alister Doyle and Susan Fenton)

Source: g captain. 17 October 2016