Northern Vitality (1997 – )
Flag: Antigua & Barbuda
Current position: Mediterranean Sea (Italy, Turkey, etc.)
In September 2012, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform found out that a German company based in Hamburg, Norddeutsche Vermögen Holding, was planning to sell three of its ships for dismantling to Indian shipbreaking yards. Reports published by well-known shipbrokers GMS and Optima showed that the containership “Northern Vitality” would be heading for a scrap destination, with GMS reporting that the sale was made to Indian buyers.
As the Northern Vitality was located in German waters (actually the ship was in the port of Wilhelmshaven at the time when the “MSC Flaminia” arrived there), the Platform moved to enforce the European Waste Shipment Regulation, the European law implementing the Basel Convention and the Ban Amendment. On 6 September 2012, the Platform wrote to the German federal government, who proceeded to alert the regional environmental ministry concerned with the Northern Vitality’s imminent departure from the port of Wilhelmshaven. The ship was forbidden to sail unless the owners could prove it would not be sent for breaking to India or another non-OECD country – in accordance with the requirements of the EU Waste Shipment Regulation. The Platform also alerted the European Commission to make sure that the regulation was properly enforced.
A month later, the owners of the Northern Vitality had sold her to a recently founded Bulgarian company, saying the ship would be repaired in the port of Varna, and would therefore not be heading for South Asia. The Platform immediately alerted the Bulgarian environment ministry so that they could watch the ship, and kept the European Commission updated.
The Platform believes that the owner’s intent was clearly to sell the Northern Vitality for breaking and will continue watching the ship. Both sister ships that were reported by cash buyer GMS as sold at the same time as the Northern Vitality were beached in Alang, India. On 6 September 2012, the “Northern Felicity” was renamed “Felicity” and had the flag changed from Liberia to St. Kitts and Nevis. It was beached less than two weeks later. The second sister ship, the “Northern Dignity”, was renamed “C Wind” on 17 September 2012 and the flag was also changed from Liberia to St. Kitts and Nevis. She was beached around 2 October 2012.
For more information:
Read our letter to the authorities:
>> 22 October 2012 – Letter to European Commission about possible export of the Northern Vitality from Bulgaria
>> 27 November 2012 – Answer from EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik
>> 17 October 2012 – Letter to Bulgarian government about possible illegal export of the Northern Vitality
>> 6 September 2012 – Letter to German government about possible illegal export of the Northern Vitality
>> 6 September 2012 – Letter to European Commission about possible illegal export of the Northern Vitality from Germany
>> 10 October 2012 – Answer from the European Commission DG Environment Waste Management Unit
Read our press releases:
>> 23 October 2012: “NGOs call on Bulgaria: Don’t be an exporter of toxic ships”
>> 7 September 2012: “NGOs call on Germany: Stop toxic ship before it reaches Alang graveyard“