Recycling Portal – Turkish shipbreaking yards are under pressure, according to NGO

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10 September 2015 - Brussels — In 2014, 15.3 percent of the ships broken world wide were sent to Turkey for dismantling, a large portion of which (36 percent) were sold by European-based ship owners. With the EU Commission considering applications from ship recycling yards worldwide to be listed as acceptable destinations for EU-flagged vessels, Turkish yards are under pressure to demonstrate they are in line with EU standards and that the working conditions reach adequate safety standards.

“We are particularly concerned about the health and safety rights of shipbreaking workers in Aliaga”, said Aslı Odman from Istanbul Health and Safety Labor Watch (IHSLW). “Eleven fatal accidents in the last 5 years are a sad proof of inadequate safety standards, which have to be improved urgently, not to mention occupational diseases, concealed at the shipbreaking yards concentrated in a heavy industry area in Aliaga”.

As a main destination for end-of-life vessels, Turkey has a particular responsibility to make sure that the ships are dismantled in a clean and safe way and in full respect of workers’ rights,” said Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

So the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition of environmental, human rights and labour rights organisations, welcomes its new partner organisation from Turkey, Istanbul Health and Safety Labor Watch (IHSLW) – İstanbul İşçi Sağlığı ve İş Güvenliği (ISIG) Meclisi. The Platform first met with IHSLW this June in Izmir, Turkey, when the coalition visited the ship recycling yards located in Aliaga.“Together with our partners at the Istanbul Health and Safety Labor Watch, we will raise more awareness on labour conditions in the Turkish ship recycling yards, and to make sure the workers and the environment are fully protected.”