3 February 2014 - NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a global coalition of organizations seeking to prevent dirty and dangerous shipbreaking practices worldwide, has 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 in 2013, 645 were sold to substandard beaching facilities in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, says the group. Approximately 40 per cent of these ships were EU-owned.
“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.
New EU regulation on ship recycling entered into force on December 30, 2013 that 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, unless an economic incentive is added to it, the registration of European ships under flags of convenience will allow shipowners to circumvent the new regulation. “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”, says Heidegger.
Responsible European shipowners have meanwhile developed ship recycling policies, says Heidegger. 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, she says. Best practice examples are Norwegian shipowners 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.