South Asian Scrapyards Need To Improve Shipbreaking Practices, NGO Says

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Commons Wikimedia

A new report by NGO Shipbreaking Platform reveals that more than 60% of 768 ships sold for scrap last year were broken on the beaches of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, where ship owners have to improve shipbreaking practices.

The shipbreaking yards in South Asian do not provide fundamental labor rights, ignore international waste trade law, and fail to respect international environmental protection standards, according to the report.

The data shows that 768 large vessels were sold to the scrap yards last year, with 469 were broken on the beaches of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Last year, Greek owners sold the most end-of-life vessels to dirty and dangerous shipbreaking sites in South Asia, according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. Meanwhile, Bangladesh became the world’s number one destination for scrap ships for the first time in many years.

“Despite a lot of international attention on the problems of shipbreaking on the beaches of South Asia, the statistics for 2015 show that the vast majority of ship owners have not changed their practice for the better. On the contrary, most have opted for one of the worst shipbreaking destination in the world – Bangladesh, where children are still illegally exploited to break ships manually on tidal mudflats”, NGO Shipbreaking Platform Director Patrizia Heidegger said in a statement.

The NGO applauds the European Union’s plan to publish a list of approved ship recycling facilities worldwide by the end of 2016.

“This will satisfy the call from those that demand better practices, including investors such as ABN-Amro and cargo owners such as H&M, Stora Enso and Phillips – none of whom wish to be associated with polluting and harmful end-of-life management of old ships,” according to the group.

The NGO wants shipping companies and their investors to only allow their vessels to go to yards listed on the EU list. It also recommends governments to take steps to ensure national use of the EU list.