(Written by Gary Howard)
26 January 2015 - German, Korean and Swiss shipowners top the list of those sending their ships to South Asian beaches for recycling in a study by presure group NGO Shipbreaking in 2014.
According to NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s annual list of demolished ships, 1,026 ships are said to have been dismantled in 2014, with 641 ending up in what it says are substandard facilities on the beaches of South Asia.
In 2014, 23 deaths and 66 severe injuries were reported on South Asian beaches as the result of explosions, crushing and falls from height while dismantling ships.
Ernst Komrowski, a German shipowner, sold the most ships to the beaches in 2014. All 14 of the vessels it scrapped were previously in the Maersk fleet or chartered to Maersk.
The second-highest number of ships beached was from South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping. The report highlighted South Korea’s prominence as a shipbuilder and its strong environmental profile, Hanjin sent 11 ships to meet their end on South Asian beaches.
Third place Mediterranean Shipping Company sent seven ships to the beaches, even though it had suffered the death of six workers in 2009 when a fire broke out on the MSC Jessica as it was being dismantled in India.
European ships accounted for 285 of the total ships scrapped worldwide, with1 82 of those making their way to beaching facilities that lack any compliance with international standards for ship recycling. The New EU Ship Recycling Regulation came into force at the end of 2013, but has either been ignored or ships have re-flagged to non-EU flags ahead of beaching to dodge jurisdiction.
The use of tidal beaches means that pollutants cannot be contained, and the use of heavy lift machinery is impossible, putting both worker’s lives and the environment at significant risk. China was identified by NGO Shipbreaking as the only major shipping nation building up capacity to recycle its end-of-life fleet. 163 ships were recycled in China, with 93 of those vessels under the Chinese flag.