16 March 2015

Bangladeshis angry over Norway scrapping policy:

Local shipbreaker slams the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association as ‘cowardly’ for urging its members not to recycle vessels in Bangladesh

The Norwegian Shipowners’ Association (NSA) has come in for harsh criticism over its policy towards scrapping in Bangladesh.

The NSA strongly advises its members against recycling their ships in Bangladesh, unless it is closely monitored and undertaken as part of projects aimed at improving standards in line with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (Hong Kong Convention) .

“This is not a naming and shaming of Bangladesh,” the NSA’s head of environment, Tor Christian Sletner, told delegates at the TradeWinds Ship Recycling Forum in Singapore. “This is an expression of the standards we want. It could be other countries as well.”

Sletner says the NSA’s decision came after several attempts to raise ship-recycling standards in the country proved unsuccessful.

“It came to a point where the board of the NSA said enough is enough,” Sletner told TradeWinds.

Scrap method ‘not popular’

The NSA is also said to have taken into consideration the view that “we were doing things that the politicians, the media and public opinion did not like” in reference to ship scrapping in the Indian subcontinent.

Norway is one of only three countries to have ratified the Hong Kong Convention alongside France and the Republic of the Congo.

“We would love to work, as we have done for decades, with the shipbreaking yards in Bangladesh but we have to have a standard we can live with,” Sletner said.

But his comments cut no ice with some of the Bangladesh delegates at the conference, who criticised the decision to single out the country.

“You are so afraid of public opinion and the decision you have taken is a cowardly one,” said Mohammed Zahirul Islam of PHP Shipbreaking & Recycling Industries in Bangladesh.

“I would like to clarify that Turkey, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are doing scrapping the same way. You call our way ‘beaching’, and you call their way ‘landing’ — but it is exactly the same.

“Why don’t you select the yards responsibly? There [are] a lot of good yards in Bangladesh that are doing ship recycling in a positive way.

“The NGO Shipbreaking Platform is winning because of people like you who are afraid to face the music. We are not afraid; this is our livelihood.

“Unless, or until, we move out of this climate of fear, then nothing will improve. You are putting everyone in the same basket, which is totally wrong. There are a lot of good yards in Bangladesh and you need to visit them to open your eyes.”

Source: trade winds news. 13 March 2015

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