4 February 2014 - The NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition of environmental, human and labour rights organisations, which aims at preventing toxic end-of-life ships from being beached in developing countries, published a list of dismantled ships in the world in 2013.
The list comprises 1213 large ocean-going vessels that were scrapped in 2013, among which 645 were sold to substandard beaching facilities in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
About 40% of these ships were EU-owned. Last year, European ship owners sold a total of 372 large commercial vessels for breaking, 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 record-high 80 percent of their end-of-life ships in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and included well-known companies such as Danaos and Euroseas (Greece), and Conti, Hapag-Lloyd and Leonhardt & Blumberg (Germany).
Comparatively, Japanese owners sent 43% 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 Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), with 9 ships dumped in India in 2013, and the Monaco-based Sammy Ofer Group, with 13 ships dumped in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.
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 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.
A new EU Regulation on ship recycling entered into force on 30 December 2013. Once applicable, the EU 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.