Shipping Watch – NGO: 515 ships scrapped on beaches in 2014

(Written by Ole Andersen)

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13 October 2014 - Carriers: Ships from major European flag states are still ending their days on the beaches in Southeast Asia. A growing number of vessels change flags shortly before arriving at the scrapping destinations, reports NGO Shipbreaking Platform in a new update.

515 ships have ended their lives on the beaches in Southeast Asia during 2014. Four Asian workers have been killed in the 3rd quarter on the beaches in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, bringing the total number of fatalities to 21 during 2014 so far, says Brussels-based NGO Shipbreaking Platform in its latest update.

Out of a total 202 vessels from the global commercial fleet that were scrapped in the 3rd quarter, more than 70 percent ended up on the Southeast Asian beaches. 39 of these were owned by European shipowners. Greek owners alone sold 19 vessels to Southeast Asian shipbreakers, a number that represents more than 80 percent of all Greek ships scrapped during the 3rd quarter, according to Shipbreaking Platform.

Even though the new EU legislation prohibits beaching – that is, scrapping European ships on beaches – ship from flag-states such as Cyprus, Malta and Greece are still scrapped on the beaches. Many ships change flags just a few weeks prior to arriving on the beaches in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

The Polish government has, for instance, through its company Polsteam sold three ships to the shipbreaking beaches in the 3rd quarter – all of them flagged under the Pacific island state Vanuatu. This means that a total of seven Polsteam ships have been scrapped on the beaches since 2013, notes Shipbreaking Platform.

More than half of the scrapped Chinese-owned vessels were sold to Southeast Asian shipbreakers in the 3rd quarter. None of these vessels, except for a single state-owned vessel sold to Bangladesh, were sailing under Chinese flag.

Seven accidents – six in Chittagong, Bangladesh and one in Alang, India – were reported in the 3rd quarter. At least three workers lost their lives while a fourth, according to Shipbreaking Platform, was killed in relation to scrapping in Chittagong.