What we do
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform is a coalition of environmental, human and labour rights organisations. For more than 10 years, we have been fighting for shipbreaking workers’ right to a safe job, the use of best available technologies, and for equally protective environmental standards globally.
With a broad base of support both geographically and in orientation we challenge the arguments of a powerful shipping industry not used to being held accountable for its substandard practices. We raise public awareness of the human rights abuses and pollution caused by shipbreaking, and seek to prompt both policies and marketplace incentives to divert traffic away from the infamous breaking beaches. Our goal is to find sustainable solutions that encompass the principles of human rights, corporate accountability, environmental justice, “polluter pays”, producer responsibility and clean production.
Vessels are recycled in facilities that ensure clean, safe, and just practices that provide workers with decent jobs. Vessels will be toxic-free and no longer cause harm to workers, local communities, or the environment at end-of-life.
To act as a catalyst for change by effectively advocating for clean, safe, and just ship recycling globally. This necessitates denouncing dirty and dangerous practices, such as the dumping of end-of-life vessels on the beaches of developing countries. Our commitment to finding sustainable global solutions is based on the respect of human and workers’ rights and the principles of environmental justice, producer responsibility, ‘polluter pays’, and clean production.
Working with progressive industry stakeholders and policymakers, whilst at the same time revealing illicit business practices, the Platform is seeing great traction for its call for reforms. More than 100 non-governmental organisations around the world, the European Union, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics, and major shipping banks and investors have voiced their support to the Platform’s objective to end the dangerous and polluting practice of breaking ships on tidal beaches.
We have successfully pushed for a new European law that aims to divert an increasing number of ship owners towards safe and clean ship recycling and sets a standard that bans beaching, demands environmentally sound management of wastes downstream and decent working conditions. Our annual publication of ships dismantled globally, where we identify ownership and destination, is now used by major shipping banks and investors to screen their portfolio. In 2018, two Scandinavian pension funds divested for the first time from four shipping companies due to their beaching practices. Several banks now also set requirements for shipping companies they finance to recycle responsibly.
By alerting authorities we have prompted a series of investigations into the murky business of shipbreaking. In 2018, a ship owner was for the first time held criminally liable for having sold ships for dirty and dangerous breaking. In South Asia, our members continue to bring the harsh realities of shipbreaking to the attention of the courts – efforts for which BELA received the prestigious Goldman Prize in 2009 and the Magsaysay Award in 2012 – and to assist workers and their families in demanding their right to compensation and decent working conditions.
To ensure that safe and clean ship recycling becomes the norm, and not the exception, we will continue to meet and present cases to policy makers, financial and corporate leaders, argue in the courts and testify as expert witnesses. We will work with frontrunners in the industry and governments to reform the shipping industry’s substandard practices that every year cause fatalities, occupational disease, and irreparable harm to the marine environment.