Brussels — Ignoring industry leaders and human rights and environmental organisations, ship owners continue to profit from dangerous and dirty shipbreaking practices on South Asian beaches in 2015, according to new data released today by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. 768 large ocean-going vessels were sold to the scrap yards last year. 469 were broken on the beaches of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh where shipbreaking yards do not provide fundamental labour rights, ignore international waste trade law, and fail to respect international environmental protection standards.
The worst dumper is Idan Ofer: His shipping companies sold the highest number of vessels for substandard breaking operations in 2015: nine in total, with six of them going to Bangladesh, where conditions are known to be worst. Greek ship owners sold the most ships to South Asian shipbreaking yards in 2015, with 87 ships in total. Since 2009, Greek shipping companies have unceasingly topped the list of owners that opt for dirty and dangerous shipbreaking. South Korean shipping companies such as Hyundai and Hanjin; Taiwanese container giant Evergreen; and Japanese companies including Mol, K-LineE and the Toyota owned Toyofuji sold vessels for breaking in Bangladesh in clear contradiction of their own company values and standards.
South Korean ship owners sold 27 ships exclusively to South Asia, mostly to Bangladesh. Also Japanes ship owners sold exclusively to South Asia, many to Bangladesh. German shipping company Norddeutsche Vermögen sold three vessels to the beaches of India and Bangladesh – the Northern Glance, the Northern Diversity and the Northern Vitality. Polish government-owned Polsteam sold ships to Bangladesh and Pakistan – and refused to take responsibility for their own actions following an alert sent by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. Worse, the Polish government has likewise not acted.
“Despite of a lot of international attention on the problems of shipbreaking on the beaches of South Asia, the statistics for 2015 show that the vast majority of ship owners have not changed their practice for the better. On the contrary, most have opted for one of the worst shipbreaking destination in the world – Bangladesh, where children are still illegally exploited to break ships manually on tidal mudflats”, said Patrizia Heidegger, NGO Shipbreaking Platform Director.
One sign of hope is a group of leading ship owners that have vowed to take responsibility for clean and safe end-of-life management and demonstrate that alternatives are available. The European Union is also expected to publish a list of approved ship recycling facilities worldwide by the end of 2016. This will satisfy the call from those that demand better practices, including investors such as ABN-Amro and cargo owners such as H&M, Stora Enso and Phillips – none of whom wish to be associated with polluting and harmful end-of-life management of old ships. While, only vessels sailing under an EU flag will be legally obliged to use an EU approved recycling facility, any ship owner can nevertheless opt for an EU approved facility for its non-EU flagged ships on a voluntary basis. The NGO Shipbreaking Platform therefore demands that shipping companies and their investors only allow their vessels to go to yards listed on the EU list. Moreover, governments of the world’s leading maritime nations, such as Greece and Germany, must likewise take steps to ensure national use of the EU list. Introducing a financial incentive based on the polluter pays principle would go a far way in pushing irresponsible ship owners towards sustainable ship recycling.
Source: recycling portal. 04 February 2016