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Brussels, 14.02.2014 – On 11 February, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform accepted the invitation from Surfrider Foundation Europe, an NGO dedicated to protecting the marine ecosystems around the world, to speak at a conference on the emerging maritime risks, held at the Foundation’s EU headquarters in Biarritz, France. More than 40 people attended the conference.
The conference was streamed online:
Speakers included Antidia Citores, policy advisor at Surfrider, who presented the white paper that the Foundation addressed to the European Commission last year and which lists 45 recommendations in order to enhance maritime safety and reduce pollution. Amongst others, the document entitled “A white paper on maritime safety – Towards an Erika IV package?”  calls for solutions to the risks that are posed by the increasing number of containers transported by sea. Last year, and likewise in January 2014, the French Atlantic coast has been littered with goods that escaped from broken containers following shipping accidents. Sometimes such accidents are caused by other floating containers. The containers have no legal status and it is therefore difficult to identify the party responsible for the pollution. The white paper also calls for stricter rules for shipowners choosing to register a ship under certain flags, and recommends the creation of an EU flag to minimize the risks associated with “flag hopping”, whereby shipowners are free to choose any flag they want, including those that enforce the lowest possible social and environmental standards.
Delphine Reuter, communications officer at the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, presented the Platform’s work that is carried out at the European and South Asian level. The debate with the audience focused on the responsibility that should be borne by shipowners, such as the French company CMA-CGM, who has chosen to make more profit by beaching its end-of-life ships in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan instead of ensuring their safe and clean recycling elsewhere.
After the conference, the Platform and Surfrider launched an exhibition called “Dément tellement” . The exhibition features steel sculptures by French artist Gilles Plantade and photographs of the Chittagong shipbreaking yards by Pierre Torset. The exhibition will remain open to the public at the Biarritz headquarters until 7 March 2014.
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform also participated with Surfrider in a press meeting organised by the town of Anglet, next to Biarritz, where a Spanish cargo ship was accidentally beached two weeks ago following stormy weather conditions. The mayor of Anglet told the press that the owner of the “Luno” is now looking into options for dismantling the ship. The Platform together with the Surfrider Foundation will continue to monitor the progress of the operations, with the Platform paying particular attention to the handling of the hazardous materials that are present within the structure of the “Luno”.
NGO Shipbreaking Platform