Seatrade Global – South Asia ship recycling dominance continues in Q1 2015

(Written by Gary Howard)

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10 April 2015 – More than half of the 262 vessels scrapped in the first quarter 2015 ended up on the beaches of South Asia, NGO Shipbreaking Platform has reported.

Of a total of 151 ships sent to South Asia, India’s Alang and Mumbai yards received 69 ships, with 66 ending up at yards in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Pakistan bought 16 vessels for scrapping during the quarter.

The figures dwarf the 65 ships recycled in China and 28 in Turkey, where environmental standards are higher, as well as safety standards for workers. The strength of China’s ship recycling industry is largely fuelled by its own fleet, which led NGO Shipbreaking Platform to praise it as “becoming the only leading shipping nation which so far ensures the clean and safe dismantling of a substantial part of its end-of-life fleet in modern ship recycling facilities.”

The export of ships from Europe for breaking in what NGO Shipbreaking considers to be substandard South Asian yards continues, however, as 39 European-owned vessels hit the beaches in the first quarter. Of those ships, 30 were Greek-owned including Star Bulk Carriers, Technomar and the Angelicoussis group.

It did though report that since reviewing its ship recycling policy last year, the two ships recycled by Hapag-Lloyd have been sent to more environmentally responsible yards in China and Turkey.

The report also highlighted a number of incidents where the families of workers killed or injured at South Asian yards were not receiving proper compensation. In one case a yard refused to even acknowledge a worker had been employed by them until threats of legal action were made, and in another a yard claimed to not know the whereabouts of next of kin, something journalists managed to uncover within two days by simply speaking to coworkers. In both cases the deceased workers were survived by children and other family members dependent on their income.