Ships for Scrap II: Steel and Toxic Wastes for Asia – Greenpeace Report (November 1999)


“The purpose of Greenpeace’s international shipbreaking campaign is to transform the polluting and dangerous business associated with the export of decommissioned ocean going ships for scrapping, especially from rich OECD members, to various Asian countries. It must be noted that the transboundary movement of ships for the purpose of scrapping presents unique and complicated legal issues distinguishing this type of waste from the traditional notion of hazardous waste. Greenpeace is campaigning with the same vigour for a swift and drastic improvement of worker safety, and of workplace and environmental controls at all scrapping yards worldwide.

We are collaborating with the international Basel Action Network BAN and ITF, the International Transport Federation. In this effort, Greenpeace examines the conditions under which ships are scrapped, delivering previously unavailable data, findings and analyses. Through awareness-raising and providing expertise on the issue we strive to improve these conditions.”

“The ultimate goal of any effort to comprehensively address the issue of safe and environmentally sound ship scrapping must be to phase out the use of toxic substances in ship design, construction and operation. Strengthened mechanisms are needed to facilitate this process.”

“In the course of a two-day visit on 17 and 18 August 1999 to China, specifically to the Chang Jiang Ship-Breaking Yard operated by the China National Shipbreaking Corporation in Xiagang near Jiangyin (Shanghai region) in the Yangtze delta, a German-Chinese Greenpeace team made the following observations, documented these by video and photographs and discussed them with the responsible yard managers.

Prior to this visit, a number of ship owners and operators selected from the world’s ”big twenty“, including Hamburg Süd, P&O Nedlloyd, Hapag Lloyd and the Greek Costamare shipping group, were confronted with the way in which the toxic materials installed in their ships can damage human health and the environment in Asia.”