Recycling International – New website promotes safer and cleaner shipbreaking

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24 June 2013 - Asia: The NGO Shipbreaking Platform has launched a website – www.offthebeach.org – which lists all the ships that have been sent for breaking on the beaches of South Asia since 2009. The site aims to promote safer and cleaner ship recycling and to inform cargo companies wishing to select responsible ship-owners to carry their goods around the world, the organisation explains.

The website is part of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s ‘Off the Beach!’ campaign, which is designed to raise awareness of harmful shipbreaking practices and to promote the alternatives. Shipbreaking on the beaches of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan involves worker rights violations and severe environmental degradation, it is claimed.

Dangerous practices

The database documents more than 2600 ships scrapped in South Asia since May 15 2009 – the date on which the International Maritime Organization’s Hong Kong Convention was adopted by the international community. According to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, the Hong Kong Convention does nothing to prevent the dangerous beaching practices widely used today, nor does it have the aim to prevent such practices in the future.

‘In fact, more ships have been beached annually since Hong Kong was adopted,’ it says. The website lists more than 1000 shipping companies to have benefited commercially from selling their ships for breaking in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, as well as the existing shipping fleet that carries cargoes around the world today.

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform underlines that some of the shipping companies listed for having sent vessels to what it deems to be substandard facilities have subsequently changed their recycling policies. These ‘success stories’ are featured in the blog section of the website where the Platform will also highlight setbacks.