Recycling International – Singapore ship owners issued with beaching plea

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11 March 2014 - The NGO Shipbreaking Platform has called on Singapore-based vessel owners to stop selling their old ships to beach-breaking yards in developing countries.

‘It is now time for South East Asian ship owners to join the front-runners of the maritime industry mainly based in Europe and say ”no” to a practice that is harming the environment and people,’ the NGO’s executive director Patrizia Heidegger told the recent TradeWinds Ship Recycling Forum held in Singapore.

According to the Platform, shipbreaking as practised today on the beaches of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan leads to pollution of coastal ecosystems while exposing workers to danger. In a list published in February, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform claims that the vast majority of the 39 Singapore-owned ships sent for dismantling last year were destined for the South Asian beach-breaking yards: 17 to India, nine to Bangladesh and five to Pakistan.

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform notes that the European ship owners to have adopted an anti-beaching stance include Dutch firm Boskalis, as well as Norwegian companies Grieg Shipping, Wilhelmsen and Höegh Autoliners.

In North America, Canadian Steamship Lines will no longer beach any of its ships, and international oil and gas companies are choosing cleaner and safer recycling for their tankers, the NGO adds.