NGOS APPLAUD BELGIUM FOR PREVENTING AN ILLEGAL EXPORT OF THE SHIP TO INDIA AND CALL ON THE JAPANESE OWNERS TO ADOPT A SUSTAINABLE SHIP RECYCLING POLICY
Brussels, 6 June 2014 - After having been alerted by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition of environmental, human rights and labour organisations, the Flemish Environment Ministry has seized the end-of-life car carrier Global Spirit. The vessel is not allowed to leave the port of Antwerp before the Japanese owners provide evidence that the vessel will be dismantled in accordance with European waste law.
“We applaud Belgium for having stopped the Japanese ship from sailing to Alang, India, where the vessel would have been broken under very hazardous conditions, an export which would have been illegal under European law,” said Ingvild Jenssen, Policy Advisor of the NGO Platform on Shipbreaking. “On the shipbreaking beaches of Alang labour rights are poorly respected and pollution laws are weak or not-enforced - the conditions we see in India would never be allowed in Europe or in Japan.”
The Platform alerted the Belgian authorities earlier this week  after it had been reported that the Global Spirit was sold to the infamous shipbreaking beaches in India, where at least six workers have died so far this year crushed by steel plates and many more have been taken ill by occupational disease due to ship-borne hazardous substances like asbestos and PCBs. According to the European Union Waste Shipment Regulation, only if all hazardous materials, such as asbestos, residue oils and toxic paints, are removed from the Global Spirit can it be allowed to be exported to South Asia. The Regulation was designed to prevent the environmental injustice of rich countries exporting their toxic wastes to impoverished countries that lack the technology and infrastructure to manage such wastes.
The end-of-life vehicle carrier Global Spirit has been used to transport cars for Nissan-Renault on a regular route Morocco-EU-Turkey under a long term time charter with Hoegh Autoliners, managed by Autotrans based in France. The owners of the Global Spirit have already communicated to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform that they are currently looking for an alternative breaking destination for the ship.
“We now call on the Japanese owners of the ship, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Limited (MOL) and Nissan Car Carriers (NCC), to find a sustainable solution for their entire fleet – not only the Global Spirit for which they have been caught red-handed – and adopt a company policy on ship recycling that will ensure the safe and green recycling of all their ships off the beach” said Ingvild Jenssen.
Last year the Japanese ship owner MOL sold six end-of-life ships to South Asian shipbreakers , prioritising the highest price for the ships and ignoring the harm done to workers, local communities and the environment . The charterers of the Global Spirit, Hoegh Autoliners, who are also 20 percent shareholders in NCC, have already adopted a sustainable ship recycling policy for their ships requiring them to be broken ‘off the beach’. More and more progressive ship owners are refusing to sell their end-of-life ships to substandard beach breaking yards and the new EU Ship Recycling Regulation has set a clear standard for safer and greener practices that effectively rules out the beaching practice.
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Source: shipbreaking platform. 6 June 2014