EU-Recycling – NGOs Publish 2013 List of Toxic Ship Dumpers

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1 March 2014 - Greek and German shipping companies are amongst the world’s worst.

The  NGO  Shipbreaking Platform,  a  global  coalition of  organizations  seeking  to prevent  dirty  and  dangerous shipbreaking practices worldwide, published the complete list of ships that were dismantled  around  in  the  world in  2013.  Of  the  1213  large ocean-going vessels that were scrapped  last  year,  645  were sold to substandard beaching facilities  in  India,  Pakistan and  Bangladesh.  Approximately  40  per  cent  of  these ships  were  EU-owned.  The new  EU  regulation  on  ship recycling entered into force on 30 December 2013. However, unless an economic incentive is added to it, the registration of European ships under flags of convenience will allow ship owners  to  sail  around  the new  regulation  and  continue dumping  their  toxic  ships  in substandard facilities. End-of-life  vessels  contain toxic  materials  such  as asbestos, heavy metals, PCBs and organic waste within their structures.  South  Asia  has become a preferred dumping NGOs Publish 2013 List of Toxic Ship Dumpers Greek and German shipping companies are amongst the world’s worst. ground  as  environmental, safety  and  labour  rights standards are poorly enforced there. Ship owners are able to sell  their  ships  to  the  beach breakers  for  considerably greater  profit  than  if  they were  sold  to  clean  and  safe recycling facilities.

Reflagging is a convenient way

“Whereas  the  number  of dismantled  ships  remained nearly  as  high  as  in  2012, the number of beached ships dropped  from  850  to  645  in 2013,  representing  a  reduction  of  24  per  cent  from  the previous  year.  More  ship owners have opted for cleaner and  safer  solutions  in  2013 compared  to  previous  years –  this  is  good  news  for  the environment and the workers, and  also  for  those  ship  recycling yards globally that have invested  in  better  practices,” says Patrizia Heidegger, Executive  Director  of  the  NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “Still, the  majority  of  ship  owners uphold  their  dirty  practices and  European  owners  are amongst the worst.” European  ship  owners  sold a total of 372 large commercial  vessels  for  breaking  last year, of which 238, almost two thirds,  ended  up  on  a  South Asian beach. Greece remains the worst European toxic ship dumper,  closely  followed  by Germany.  Owners  in  these countries  disposed  a  recordhigh  80  per  cent  of  their end-of-life  ships  in  India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and included  well-known  companies  such  as  Danaos  and Euroseas  (Greece),  Conti, Hapag-Lloyd  and  Leonhardt & Blumberg (Germany). Comparatively,  Japanese owners  sent  43  per  cent  of their  ships  to  South  Asia, whilst Chinese owners in vast majority  opted  for  nationally  available  ship  recycling capacity.  Other  European companies  that  have  recurrently topped the lists of worst dumpers include Switzerlandbased  Mediterranean  Shipping  Company  (MSC),  with nine ships dumped in India in 2013,  and  the  Monaco-based Sammy  Ofer  Group,  with  13 ships dumped in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Once  applicable,  the  new EU  ship  recycling  regulation will ban the breaking of ships registered under the flag of an EU Member State in beaching yards  and  demand  proper recycling  in  facilities  that meet the requirements set out in  the  Regulation.  However, the  Regulation  runs  the  risk of  becoming  a  paper  tiger: More  than  two  thirds  of  the European  ships  dismantled in 2013 did not sail under the flag of an EU Member State when  heading  for  a  dismantling  yard  and  would  therefore  not  have  been  covered by  the  new  Regulation.  In addition  to  the  ships  already sailing  under  non-European flags  during  operational  use, another 55 ships were flagged out from European registries just before scrapping outside the EU. Flags of convenience such  as  Comoros,  Tuvalu, Saint  Kitts  and  Nevis,  Togo and  Sierra  Leone,  that  are less  favoured  during  operational  use,  were  excessively popular  flags  for  the  end-oflife vessels broken on beaches in  2013.  Patrizia  Heidegger: “Reflagging  has  always  been a  convenient  way  for  ship owners  to  circumvent  rules enforced  by  the  flag  states. The Platform and its members have  been  calling  upon  the EU to introduce an economic incentive to promote clean and safe ship recycling, because a Regulation based only on the voluntary  registration  under a European flag will not have the promised impact.”

Best practice examples

Responsible  European  ship owners have meanwhile developed  ship  recycling  policies. The  Danish  Maersk  group, the world’s largest containership owner, was amongst the first to have an ambitious ship recycling policy and has so far lived  up  to  it  for  those  ships registered  under  its  name. However,  Maersk  sold  off three  ships  to  Greek  owner Diana  Shipping  and  chartered  the  vessels  back:  All three  were  beached  in  2013. The sale of old ships to a new owner  while  continuing  to be the operator is a common way of avoiding responsibility at end-of-life, and it weakens Maersk’s  efforts  to  be  a global  leader  in  green  ship recycling. Best  practice  examples  are Norwegian ship owners Grieg and  Höegh  Autoliners,  who have  proven  to  be  serious about  their  environmental policies and have not beached vessels  in  2013.  Canada Steamship  Lines  (CSL)  and Royal  Dutch  Boskalis  went one  step  further  and  had their  ships  recycled  within OECD countries only. Dutch company  Van  Oord,  active in  the  dredging  and  offshore industry,  has  recently  stated they will no longer beach any of their ships.