Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #21

There were a total of 166 ships broken in the first quarter of 2020. Of these, 126 ships were sold to the beaches of South Asia for dirty and dangerous breaking [1]. Between January and March, at least 4 workers have lost their lives and at least 7 were severely injured when breaking ships in Bangladesh. 

 

 

On February 3, Liton Das (27) was hit by a falling iron plate on his right leg at the Bangladeshi M.M. shipbreaking yard. Liton currently lies in his bed at home with an open wound at high risk of infection. 

 

On February 4, cutter man Kiron Tripura (28) died at Ziri Subedar shipbreaking yard. A week later, Md. Mizanur Rahman (22) fell from great height whilst dismantling the vessel Anangel Hali, owned by Greek Angelicoussis Shipping Group, at S.N. Corporation yard. Mizanur died on the spot. He had started to work as a shipbreaker only four days prior his death. 

 

On March 24, two brothers, Sumon Das (45) and Nironjon Das (48), died when breathing atoxic gas, while working in the engine room of the tanker West Energy, owned by South Korean company Sinokor. The vessel was beached at Kabir Steel’s Khawja shipbreaking yard. Sumon and Nironjon leave five children behind. In the same accident, two other workers, Kawser and Habib, were also exposed to the toxic gas and fell sick. The Department of Inspection for Factories Establishments (DIFE) stated to local media that the accident will be investigated.  

 

Accident records in Gadani, Pakistan and Alang, India, are extremely difficult to obtain. A recent BBC Disclosure report reveals how companies involved, as well as Indian local authorities, seek to thwart public scrutiny of the deplorable conditions in Alang. Also other journalists that have visited the Indian shipbreaking yards, often unannounced and undercover, have documented a reality that starkly contrasts with the industry efforts to greenwash the beaching of vessels for breaking. Workers risk their lives due to lack of infrastructure and dangerous conditions. They are furthermore not provided adequate respiratory protective gear and thus exposed to hazardous materials and gases that impair their health, causing cancer and other respiratory diseases. The death toll caused by occupational diseases contracted at the beaching yards is not disclosed in either India, Pakistan or Bangladesh, and is sadly likely to be shockingly high. 

 

In the first quarter of 2020, Saudi Arabian ship owners sold the most ships to South Asian yards, followed by South Korean and Greek owners. Shipping company Berge Bulk sent five vessels to Bangladesh for dirty and dangerous breaking.. These add up to the four ships that the ship owner sold to the same beach last year. Berge Bulk’s scrapping practices should prompt the Lloyd’s List Asia Awards to withdraw the prize for “Excellence in Environmental Management” the company recently received for its commitment to environmental conservation. Indeed, there is nothing laudable about putting workers lives at serious risk and polluting sensitive coastal environments.

 

Almost half of the ships sold to South Asia this quarter changed flag to the registries of Comoros, Gabon, Palau and St. Kitts and Nevis just weeks before hitting the beach. These flags are not typically used during the operational life of ships and offer ‘last voyage registration’ discounts. They are particularly popular with the middlemen that purchase vessels cash from ship owners, and are grey- and black-listed shipping registries due to their poor implementation of international maritime law. 

 

The high number of flag changes at end-of-life seriously compromises the effectiveness of legislation based on flag state jurisdiction only, such as the European Union (EU) Ship Recycling Regulation. The Platform recorded at least six ships that de-registered from an European flag registry prior the last voyage to South Asia in order to circumvent EU legislation. 

 

How Covid-19 pandemic is affecting vulnerable shipbreaking workers

 

The current Covid-19 pandemic is also affecting the South Asian shipbreaking workers. Authorities have halted imports of vessels and imposed strict lockdowns.

 

As reported by the newspaper The Indian Express, migrant workers in Alang, unable to return to their home villages, are facing serious financial difficulties. They are yet to receive their March salaries and have not received any alternative support, such as food, from their employers. Fortunately, media report that the Gujarat government has now stepped in and distributed thousands of ration kits to the migrant workforce stuck in Alang.

 

In Pakistan, more than 400 food bags were handed out to the National Trade Union Federation Pakistan and the Shipbreaking workers Union at Gadani shipbreaking yard.

 

In Bangladesh, according to the Platform’s member organisation YPSA, only local workers are partially receiving food support from the government and from some yard owners. Migrant workers, on the other hand, have not received any public support. YPSA and OSHE, another Platform member organisation active in the Chattogram area, are currently providing assistance to part of the migrant workforce. There is a dire need to secure emergency food assistance, as well as medical check-ups and awareness raising to avoid the spread of Covid-19.

 

PLEASE DONATE TODAY AND HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE

 

DONATE ONLINE or by BANK TRANSFER

 

In the shipbreaking area of Chattogram, Bangladesh, 1070 workers that have lost their income due to the Covid-19 lockdown have received food supplies [2]. However, this is not enough as there are thousands of workers and their families who need support. We are therefore calling for YOUR support NOW to make the delivery of food packages to more workers and their  families possible. In collaboration with our member organisation OSHE, we will mobilise resources during this challenging and difficult time. 

 

Every little bit helps! Your gift will feed not only the workers but their families too!

 

Help Migrant Workers Programme

 

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€500
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Please put reference “FOOD PACKAGES” on your communication when making the donation.  All donation earmarked “FOOD PACKAGES” will go towards the Help Migrant Workers Programme in Bangladesh. Once the donation has been made, we would really appreciate if you could send us an e-mail with your full name and donation amount. If you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

Thank you for your support!

 

 

 

NOTES

 

[1] During the first quarter of 2020, the following number of vessels were broken in other locations: 26 in Turkey, 6 in China, 5 in Europe and 3 in the rest of the world.

 

[2] YPSA’s Press Release

 

The Toxic Tide – 2021 Shipbreaking Records

THE TOXIC TIDE

The shipping industry continues to exploit workers and the environment for profit

 

According to new data released today by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, 763 ocean-going commercial ships and floating offshore units were sold to the scrap yards in 2021. Of these, 583 of the largest tankers, bulkers, floating platforms, cargo- and passenger ships ended up on the beaches of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, amounting to near the totality of the gross tonnage dismantled globally.

 

Last year, at least 14 workers lost their lives when breaking apart vessels on the beach of Chattogram, Bangladesh, and another 34 were severely injured. Local sources also reported two deaths in Alang, India, and two deaths in Gadani, Pakistan. Some of these accidents took place onboard vessels owned by well-known shipping companies, such as Berge Bulk, Nathalin Co, Polaris Shipping and Winson Oil.

 

 

"We have been witnessing this environmental and human rights scandal for too long. All ship owners are aware of the dire situation at the beaching yards and the lack of capacity to safely handle the many toxic materials onboard vessels. Yet, with the help of scrap dealers, the vast majority choose to scrap their end-of-life fleet in South Asia as that is where they can make the highest profits."
Ingvild Jenssen - Executive Director and Founder - NGO Shipbreaking Platform

 

Explore our Data Visualisation and read our Press Release.

 

 

Press Release – Platform publishes list of ships dismantled worldwide in 2019

Most shipping companies continue to opt for the highest price at the worst scrapping yards

 

According to new data released today by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, 674 ocean-going commercial ships and offshore units were sold to the scrap yards in 2019. Of these vessels, 469 large tankers, bulkers, floating platforms, cargo- and passenger ships were broken down on only three beaches in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, amounting to near 90% of the gross tonnage dismantled globally.

 

"Bangladesh remains the favoured dumping ground for end-of-life ships laden with toxics. There is wide-spread knowledge of the irreparable damage caused by dirty and dangerous practices on tidal mudflats, yet profit is the only decisive factor for most ship owners when selling their vessels for breaking."
Ingvild Jenssen - Executive Director and Founder - NGO Shipbreaking Platform

Last year, at least 26 workers lost their lives when breaking apart the global fleet. The Platform documented accidents that killed 24 workers on the beach of Chattogram (formerly known as Chittagong), making 2019 the worst year for Bangladeshi yards in terms of fatalities since 2010. At least another 34 workers were severely injured. Whilst the total death toll in Indian yards is unknown, local sources and media confirmed at least two deaths at shipbreaking yards that claim to be operating safely, but have failed to be included in the EU list of approved ship recycling facilities [1].

 


DUMPERS 2019 – Worst practices

 

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES and GREECE top the list of country dumpers in 2019. UAE owners were responsible for the highest absolute number of ships sold to South Asian shipbreaking yards in 2019: 45 ships in total. Greek owners closely followed with 40 beached vessels.

 

The ‘worst corporate dumper’ prize goes to the Taiwanese container shipping line Evergreen. In the last years, the company has been under the spotlight for its damaging shipbreaking practices. In January 2018, the Norwegian Central Bank announced its decision to divest from Evergreen due to the ship owner’s repeated sale of vessels for dirty and dangerous breaking on the beach of Chattogram. Since then, the company has clearly not changed its policy. Eleven of Evergreen’s vessels ended up in South Asia in 2019. On 23 July, cutter man Shahidul lost his life while working at Kabir Steel’s Khawja shipbreaking yard in Bangladesh. Shahidul was dismantling Evergreen’s EVER UNION when he fell from a great height. He died on the spot.

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Dry bulk shipping company Berge Bulk is runner-up for worst corporate practice. Four ships owned by the Bermuda-based ship owner ended up in Bangladesh for dirty and dangerous breaking. Berge Bulk’s scrapping practices should prompt the Lloyd’s List Asia Awards to withdraw the prize for “Excellence in Environmental Management” the company recently received for its commitment to environmental conservation. Indeed, there is nothing laudable about putting workers lives at serious risk and polluting sensitive coastal environments.

 

Danish container shipping giant Maersk scrapped four vessels on the Indian beaches last year. The company did not hesitate to leave the Danish shipping registry in order to circumvent the new EU laws requiring the use of EU-approved recycling facilities, and at least two of the ships even left EU waters in breach of an international and European ban on the export of hazardous waste to developing countries. In November, Bangladesh Courts condemned the illegal breaking of Maersk’s FPSO North Sea Producer which had been sold to cash buyer GMS and fraudulently exported from the UK in 2016. Criminal investigations are underway in the UK.

 

Other well-known shipping companies that in 2019 dumped their toxic ships on South Asian beaches include: Costamare, CMA CGM, Diamond Offshore, ENSCO, MOL, MSC, NYK Line, Tidewater and Vale.


In India, many yards now boast having upgraded their beaching facilities to comply with the requirements set by the International Maritime Organisation’s Hong Kong Convention. Recent inspection visits by the European Commission in Alang and media reports, however, flag serious concerns related to pollution of the intertidal area; absence of medical facilities; breaches of labour rights and lack of capacity to safely manage a number of hazardous waste streams, including mercury and radioactive contaminated materials that are typically found on offshore oil & gas units. No facility located in South Asia meets the safety and environmental requirements for EU approval.

 

All ships sold to Chattogram, Alang and Gadani pass via the hands of scrap-dealers, better known as cash buyers. These pay the highest price for end-of-life vessels and are inherently linked to the beaching yards. Cash buyers typically re-name, re-register and re-flag the vessels on their last voyage. Black-listed flags, such as Palau, Comoros and St Kitts & Nevis, were particularly popular in 2019: almost half of the ships sold to South Asia changed flag to one of these registries just weeks before hitting the beach. None were beached under an EU flag, despite many vessels having been sold by a European shipping company.

"Policy makers need to adopt effective measures to divert ships towards the sites that have been approved by the EU. The fact that old ships are registered under flags known for the poor implementation of international maritime law sheds serious doubt over the effectiveness of legislation based on flag state jurisdiction only, including the EU Ship Recycling Regulation."
Ingvild Jenssen - Executive Director and Founder - NGO Shipbreaking Platform

Today banks, pension funds and other financial institutions are actively taking a closer look at how they might contribute to a shift towards better ship recycling practices off the beach, taking into account social and environmental criteria, not just financial returns, when selecting asset values or clients [2]. Police and environmental authorities are also increasingly monitoring the movements of end-of-life vessels. Following the Seatrade judgement in the Netherlands where, for the first time, a ship owner was held criminally liable for having intended to sell four end-of-life ships to Indian beaching yards, several other cases of illegal traffic are under investigation. [3] Aiding and abiding environmental crime is equally punishable: insurers, brokers and maritime warranty surveyors could therefore also be held liable. By unravelling the murky practices of shipbreaking, these cases highlight the importance of conducting due diligence when choosing business partners.

"Clean and safe solutions are already available. We applaud companies, such as Dutch Van Oord, that have had a responsible ship recycling policy ‘off the beach’ for many years. Whilst other ship owners lament over the lack of capacity to recycle sustainably, only 31 vessels were recorded recycled in EU-approved facilities, which represent a minor fraction of what these yards are able to handle."
Nicola Mulinaris - Communication and Policy Officer - NGO Shipbreaking Platform

For the data visualization of 2019 shipbreaking records, click here. *

For the full Excel dataset of all ships dismantled worldwide in 2019, click here. *

 

* The data gathered by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform is sourced from different outlets and stakeholders, and is cross-checked whenever possible. The data upon which this information is based is correct to the best of the Platform’s knowledge, and the Platform takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided. The Platform will correct or complete data if any inaccuracy is signaled. All data which has been provided is publicly available and does not reveal any confidential business information.

 

NOTES

 

[1] The EU Ship Recycling Regulation became applicable on 1 January 2019. According to the Regulation, EU-flagged vessels have to be recycled in one of the currently 41 approved facilities around the world included in the EU list. EU-approved ship recycling facilities must comply with high standards for environmental protection and workers’ safety. The EU list is the first of its kind; is the only list of facilities that have been independently audited; and provides an important reference point for sustainable ship recycling. Any ship owner that wants to opt for safe and clean ship recycling can simply choose one of the 41 facilities that are now included on the List.

 

[2] In early 2018, Scandinavian pension funds KLP and GPFG were the first to divest from four shipping companies, including containership company Evergreen, due to their beaching practices.

 

[3] In Scotland, Diamond Offshore and cash buyer GMS are still under investigation for having attempted to illegally export three heavily contaminated platforms that had operated in the North Sea and were cold-stacked in Cromarty Firth. The platforms have been detained in Scotland since January 2018.

 

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #20

There were a total of 122 ships broken in the third quarter of 2019. Of these, 73 ships were sold to the beaches of South Asia for dirty and dangerous breaking [1]. Between July and September, eleven workers have lost their lives and twenty were severely injured when breaking ships in Bangladesh and India. So far this year, the Platform has recorded 19 deaths and 30 severe injuries in South Asia.

 

 

 

Cutter helper Mamun Hossen (35) was killed on 3 July when he was crushed by a falling steel plate at Tahsin Steel Corp shipbreaking yard in Chattogram, Bangladesh. 

 

On 23 July, cutter man Shahidul (40) lost his life while working at Kabir Steel’s Khawja shipbreaking yard in Chattogram, Bangladesh. Shahidul was dismantling the container ship EVER UNION (IMO 9116618), owned by Taiwanese shipping giant Evergreen, when he fell from a great height. He died on the spot. Following the accident, the government imposed a three month ban on the import of end-of-life vessel on the yard, and has demanded that safety measures are taken. Already in 2018, Scandinavian investors withdrew their funds from Evergreen due to the company’s poor shipbreaking practices.

 

On 30 July, fitter men Nantu Hossen (24), Rasel Matabbor (25) and Chobidul (26) lost their lives due to a toxic gas leak on board the tanker MEDELIN ATLAS at Mak Corporation yard in Chattogram, Bangladesh. At least six other workers were severely injured. According to shipping databases, the vessel was sold for breaking by Indonesian ship owner Waruna Nusa Sentana. 

 

During the scrapping of the Greek-owned container ship CSL VIRGINIA (IMO 9289568) at Ziri shipbreaking yard in Bangladesh, a heavy cable collapsed on 31 August, hitting several workers at once. Aminul Islam (35) and Tushar Chakma (27) lost their lives. Thirteen other workers suffered severe injuries and were taken to Chattogram Medical College Hospital for treatment. 

 

The circumstances of two additional fatalities at the shipbreaking yards in Chattogram this quarter still remain unclear.

 

According to Indian media, two workers died on the shipbreaking beach of Alang in the last quarter. Two separate accidents took place at scrapping yards that have applied to be included in the EU list of approved ship recycling facilities and are promoted by the industry as “safe and green”. On 29 July, Subash Vishwakarma lost his life when a metal plate fell on his head at Priya Blue yard - Plot V1. On 3 September, an explosion during cutting operations caused the death of one worker and severely injured another worker at Shree Ram’s yard Plot 78/81. In September, Dutch TV revealed the dire working conditions at a yard owned by Priya Blue, and the trafficking of false inventories of hazardous materials to hide high levels of mercury onboard offshore units.

 

In the third quarter of 2019, Japanese, American and Greek ship owners sold the most ships to South Asian yards, followed by Indonesian and South Korean owners. 

 

Almost half of the ships sold to South Asia this quarter changed flag to the registries of Comoros, Gabon, Palau and St. Kitts and Nevis just weeks before hitting the beach. These flags are not typically used during the operational life of ships and offer ‘last voyage registration’ discounts. They are particularly popular with the middlemen that purchase vessels cash from ship owners, and are grey- and black-listed due to their poor implementation of international maritime law. The high number of flag changes at end-of-life seriously compromises the effectiveness of legislation based on flag state jurisdiction only, such as the EU Ship Recycling Regulation. 

 

Criminal investigations have been launched by authorities in Europe following Platform alerts of imminent illegal exports of toxic end-of-life vessels. The case of the ferry SIR ROBERT BOND is, however, illustrative of the Canadian government’s lack of action. In the last two years, the ship was bought and sold several times: from the Canadian government to a peat moss producer in New Brunswick, to an agent in Quebec, who allegedly sold it for scrap to Indian breakers. In May, the Platform alerted competent authorities about the imminent illegal export of the vessel to South Asia from Canada. Despite authorities having been informed, the owner managed to illegally tow the unit to Alang, where it was beached a few weeks ago.

 

NOTES

 

[1] During the second quarter of 2019, the following number of vessels were broken in other locations: 35 in Turkey, 5 in China, 4 in Europe and 5 in the rest of the world.

 

Press Release – NGOs release new report on North Sea oil and gas recycling

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform released today a research report titled “Recycling Outlook: Decommissioning of North Sea Floating Oil & Gas Units” during a seminar held in Oslo, Norway.

 

With the oil and gas sector seeing a downturn since 2014, the Platform has documented an increasing number of offshore units sold for scrap. While the recycling of fixed installations occurs under strict regulations, there are serious concerns regarding the recycling of floating structures, which classify as vessels. Around 200 floating structures have been identified as scrapped globally since 2015 – an estimated 40% of these assets ended up on South Asian beaches, where they were broken up under conditions that cause irreparable damage to the coastal environment and put workers’ lives and health at risk.

 

Numerous  floating platforms and oil and gas structures can be found in the North Sea, where the global oversupply in the rig-market is pushing the oldest assets to be scrapped. There are currently 59 floating mobile drilling rigs in the North Sea, 18 of which were built before 2001. Whilst some of the older units might be converted/upgraded, it is estimated that most of them will be scrapped in the coming years. So far, the only structure which operated in the North Sea and has been traced to a South Asian beaching yard is the FPSO North Sea Producer. There is a real risk, however, that we will see more of these cases coming up in the near future with more decommissioning projects in the North Sea.

 

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform advocates for the use of green recycling capacity already existing in the region. Indeed, North Sea recycling yards have years of experience decommissioning fixed oil and gas structures. There are several dry docks and contained slipway facilities where the dismantling of  floating structures can take place safely and with due regard for labour and environmental concerns. Ehancing the recycling of offshore structures and ships in Europe would furthermore bring opportunities for the many workers that were laid off  after the recession in the oil and gas sector in 2014.

 

The report was published with the support of Norwegian pension fund KLP. KLP promotes, as an essential part of its responsibility, practices of corporate responsibility and responsible investment. As a large investor in Norwegian companies, and companies based outside of Norway operating in the North Sea, it strives to ensure the responsible recycling of ships and offshore assets, aiming at contributing to a shift towards better practices in the sector.

Photos from KLP's seminar "Responsible disposal of ships and rigs" - © Cato Gustavson/KLP

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #19

There were a total of 193 ships broken in the second quarter of 2019. Of these, 146 ships were sold to the infamous scrapping beaches of South Asia, where working conditions are known to be dire and breaking practices cause irreparable damage to the coastal environment [1]. Between April and June, Platform sources recorded three accidents that killed at least five workers on the beach of Chittagong, Bangladesh, bringing the total death-toll of the shipbreaking industry this year to at least eight workers. 

 

 

In the early morning of 15 May, a loud blast shook the Chittagong shipbreaking area. A fire broke out on board the vessel BUNGA KELANA 4 (IMO 9178343), beached at Mahinur Ship Breaking yard, also known as Premium Trade Corporation. Video footage of the attempts to rescue workers showed extremely rudimentary conditions and a total lack of appropriate emergency response and equipment. Cutter men Mohammod Rubel, Hamidul Islam and Md Jolil lost their lives in the accident. Four other workers suffered severe burn injuries. Platform member organisation OSHE reports that the death of another worker, Tara Miya, was covered up in the same yard just a few days before the tragic event. On 20 May, Md Manik died when electrocuted at Bathiari Steel. He had been tasked with the illegal construction of barge. 

 

At least another six workers were severely injured at the Bangladeshi shipbreaking yards last quarter. Two were injured when a fire broke out on the bulk carrier COMPROMISE (IMO 9044475) on 28 May. According to maritime databases and local sources, the ship was sold by South Korean SK Shipping to HM Steel shipbreaking yard in Chittagong. 

 

Accident records in Gadani, Pakistan and Alang, India, are extremely difficult to obtain. The local government in Alang does not publish any official statistics, and it systematically refuses to provide civil society organisations and independent journalists access to the yards. Recently stopped by the Gujarat Maritime Board, journalists from French public television were forced to hand over their camera so their footage could be deleted. Part of their video material, however, managed to see the light of day and was aired in June. It effectively reveals the poor working and environmental conditions that the local authorities in Alang seek to hide.

 

In Bangladesh, it was revealed that the shipbreaking company BBC Ship Breaking had been fraudulently given the permission by local authorities to wipe out a protected mangrove forest in order to establish a new yard. Following the filing of a complaint by Platform member organisation BELA, the High Court imposed a six months’ stay on the lease contract and have asked the local authorities to explain why they blatantly ignore national forest protection laws. In 2009, 14.000 mangrove trees were illegally cut to expand the dirty and dangerous shipbreaking activities in Chittagong. Despite a clear order by the High Court in 2010, none of these trees have been replanted.

 

Poor enforcement of national and international environmental and labour laws causes irreparable damage to the environment, workers and local communities. As yards can avoid costs linked to proper environmental protection and the respect of labour rights, their lower operational costs render them a financially more profitable end-of-life destination for ship owners. In the second quarter of 2019, Japanese, Saudi Arabian and Greek ship owners sold the most ships to South Asian yards, followed by Indonesian and South Korean owners. 

 

All ships sold to the Chittagong, Alang and Gadani yards pass via the hands of scrap-dealers, also known as cash buyers, that most often re-register and re-flag the vessels on their final voyage. Grey- and black-listed flags of convenience are particularly popular with cash buyers, and more than half of the ships sold to South Asia this quarter changed flag to the registries of Comoros, Niue, Palau and St. Kitts and Nevis just weeks before hitting the beach. These flags are not typically used during the operational life of ships and offer ‘last voyage registration’ discounts. They are grey- and black-listed due to their poor implementation of international maritime law. 

 

The high number of flag changes should induce serious concerns with regards to the effectiveness of legislation based on flag state jurisdiction only, such as the EU Ship Recycling Regulation which became applicable on 1 January 2019. According to the Regulation, EU-flagged vessels have to be recycled in one of the 34 approved facilities included in the EU list. The Platform recorded at least two ships that de-registered from an European flag registry prior the last voyage to South Asia in order to circumvent the legislation. Both the Maltese-flagged ALPHA MILLENIUM and the Greek-flagged MARVELLOUS, which maritime sources link to Greek shipping company Alpha Bulkers, swapped their flags to Comoros prior reaching the beach of Chittagong, Bangladesh. 

 

The Platform has found that at least five other vessels [2], owned by Danish Maersk, Greek Chartworld Group, Greek Costamare and Norwegian KGJS (Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Skipsrederi), called at EU ports before starting their final voyage towards the shipbreaking beaches. It is likely that the decisions to export the assets for scrap were taken by these companies while on EU waters, in direct breach of the EU Waste Shipment Regulation. Clearly, more efforts are needed to ensure proper enforcement of current legislation on ship recycling as highest profit seems to be the only decisive factor most ship owners take into account when selling their vessels for breaking. 

 

 

NOTES

 

[1] During the second quarter of 2019, the following number of vessels were broken in other locations: 27 in Turkey, 5 in China, 3 in Europe and 12 in the rest of the world.

 

[2] CLAES MAERSK (IMO 9064396), CHILEAN REEFER (IMO 8917546), ELAFONISOS (IMO 9179816), SKS TIETE (IMO 9172650), SKS TANARO (IMO 9172662).

 

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #18

There were a total of 181 ships broken in the first quarter of 2019. Of these, 142 ships were sold to the beaches of South Asia where they were broken under conditions that cause irreversible damage to both human health and the environment [1]. Between January and March, three workers have lost their lives and four were severely injured when breaking ships in Bangladesh. 

 

 

On 28 January, according to local sources, Md Motiur Rahman lost his life while working at S. S. Green Ship Breaking yard, located on the beach of Chittagong, Bangladesh. Twenty days later, a fire broke out in the engine room on board the Greek-owned Polembros’ tanker S WARRIOR at Shagorika Ship Breaking Yard, killing workers Md Jamil and Bipul. 

 

No severe accidents were reported in India and Pakistan. Whilst information on accidents in Alang remain difficult to obtain due to lack of access and transparency, a significant decrease in scrapping activities has no doubt contributed to a quarter with no recorded accidents in Gadani. In the last six months, 70% of the workers are said to have lost their job. 

 

In the first quarter of 2019, US, Saudi Arabian and Singaporean ship owners sold the most ships to South Asian yards, followed by Greek and South Korean owners. 

 

Data keep showing significant activity in the decommissioning of oil and gas units. At least 12 offshore assets reached the end of their lives in the first three months of this year. Transocean Ltd., based in Switzerland and listed on the New York Stock Exchange, is the offshore drilling contractor that scrapped most units in the last decade. Despite being under the spotlight for a series of accidents involving some of its drilling units [2], the company always distinguished itself for having adopted a good end-of-life fleet management policy that required the use of recycling yards that do not operate on tidal beaches. Regrettably, Transocean, however, recently took the decision to scrap its semi-submersible platform JACK BATES (IMO 8755780) on the beach of Alang, India. The platform was beached in February at R.K. Industries (Unit-II), one of the yards that are part of the Shree Ram Group. Shree Ram claims its yards are amongst the best facilities operating on the Alang beach. Ship owners, such as Danish Maersk, praise the company’s practices. However, past media reports and a recent inspection visit to one of its plots by the European Commission have flagged serious concerns related to e.g. pollution of the intertidal area, absence of medical facilities, breaches of labour rights and lack of capacity to manage certain hazardous wastes downstream. Indeed, the facility did not meet the safety and environmental requirements for EU approval and was thus not added to the EU list.

 

Norwegian Grieg Green, ship recycling consultancy fully owned by Grieg Star, facilitated the sale of the JACK BATES and will monitor the scrapping operations on the ground. This is the first time Grieg Green offers its expertise on a demolition project taking place on a South Asian beach. Whilst its parent company has recently hit the news for being one of the first ship owners to scrap a vessel responsibly under the new EU Ship Recycling Regulation at Leyal ship recycling yard in Turkey, Grieg Green seems to have abandoned the Grieg Group’s off the beach stance. 

 

More than half of the ships sold to South Asia this quarter changed flag to the registries of Comoros, Niue, Palau and St. Kitts and Nevis just weeks before hitting the beach. All ships sold to the Chittagong, Alang and Gadani yards pass via the hands of scrap-dealers, also known as cash buyers, that often re-register and re-flag the vessel on its final voyage. Grey- and black-listed flags of convenience are particularly popular with cash buyers. These flags are not typically used during the operational life of ships and offer ‘last voyage registration’ discounts. They are grey- and black-listed due to their poor implementation of international maritime law. The high number of flag changes should alert authorities towards the ineffectiveness of legislation, including the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, which is based on flag state enforcement only.

 

The EU Ship Recycling Regulation became applicable on 1 January 2019. According to the Regulation, EU-flagged vessels have to be recycled in approved facilities included in the EU list. At least five ships were scrapped in accordance with the new requirements. However, the Platform recorded at least seven ships that swapped their European flag to that of a non-EU registry prior the last voyage to the shipbreaking yard in order to circumvent the legislation. Beaching yards do not feature on the EU list as they do not comply with the Regulation's requirements.

 

The case of the container ship BOXY LADY (IMO 9108386), owned by Greek Aims Shipping Corporation, illustrates how ship owners circumvent the law. In November 2018, the Platform alerted Spanish authorities about the imminent illegal export under the EU Waste Shipment Regulation of the Malta-flagged ship from the port of Vigo. Despite authorities having been informed, the vessel started its voyage towards Bangladesh. Aims Shipping Corporation then also managed to circumvent the EU Ship Recycling Regulation by changing the flag of the vessel to Bahamas in December 2018, just prior to its beaching in Chittagong in March.  

 

The shipping industry claims that it is forced to re-flag as there is not enough capacity on the EU List. A report published in September last year by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform and Transport & Environment, however, showed that there was more than enough capacity, both in terms of tonnage and size, to cater for the EU flagged end-of-life fleet. Since then, two Turkish yards, a yard in the US and more European yards have been added to the list. This week the European Commission also announced that it intends to add a further eight yards operating in Denmark, Norway and Turkey to the List. Clearly, however, more efforts to detect violations of European waste law and stronger incentives, such as a return scheme for all vessels trading in the EU, are needed to ensure use of the EU list and proper enforcement of current legislation on ship recycling. 

 

 

NOTES

 

[1] During the first quarter of 2019, the following number of vessels were broken in other locations: 20 in Turkey, 1 in China, 8 in Europe and 10 in the rest of the world.

 

[2] The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon, the leak off the Brazilian coast caused by the Sedco 706 and the grounding of the Transocean Winner hurt the offshore giant’s reputation. 

 

Press Release – Platform publishes list of ships dismantled worldwide in 2018

Record-breaking 90% of end-of-life tonnage scrapped on South Asian beaches

 

According to new data released today by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, 744 large ocean-going commercial vessels were sold to the scrap yards in 2018. Of these vessels, 518 were broken down on tidal mudflats in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, amounting to a record-breaking 90,4% of the gross tonnage dismantled globally. 

"The figures of 2018 are shocking. No ship owner can claim to be unaware of the dire conditions at the beaching yards, still they massively continue to sell their vessels to the worst yards to get the highest price for their ships. The harm caused by beaching is real. Workers risk their lives, suffer from exposure to toxics, and coastal ecosystems are devastated. Ship owners have a responsibility to sell to recycling yards that invest in their workers and environment."
Ingvild Jenssen - Executive Director and Founder - NGO Shipbreaking Platform

Last year, at least 35 workers lost their lives when breaking apart the global fleet. The Platform documented at least 14 workers that died in Alang, making 2018 one of one of the worse years for Indian yards in terms of accident records in the last decade. Another 20 workers died and 12 workers were severely injured in the Bangladeshi yards. In Pakistan, local sources confirmed 1 death and 27 injuries. Seven injuries were linked to yet another fire that broke out on-board a beached tanker. 

 


DUMPERS 2018 – Worst practices

 

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES, GREECE and UNITED STATES OF AMERICA top the list of country dumpers in 2018. UAE owners were responsible for the highest absolute number of ships sold to South Asian shipbreaking yards in 2018: there were 61 ships in total. Greek owners, beached 57 vessels out of a total of 66 sold for demolition. American owners closely followed with 53 end-of-life vessels broken up on South Asian tidal mudflats. 

 

The ‘worst corporate dumper’ prize goes to the South Korean liner Sinokor Merchant Marine. The company, which has been loss-making and is about to merge its container operations with Heung-A, sold 11 ships for breaking on the beaches in 2018: eight vessels ended up in Bangladesh and three in India, where in April, during the demolition of Sinokor’s PLATA GLORY at Leela Ship Recycling Yard [1], a worker died hit by a falling iron plate. 

 

Norwegian Nordic American Tankers (NAT) - incorporated in Bermuda and stock-listed in New York - is runner-up for the ‘worst dumper’ prize. Last year, NAT reported having earned USD 80 million for the sale of eight vessels for breaking. Three were sold to Alang for breaking and five were sold to breakers in Chittagong. According to local sources in Bangladesh, the cutting operations of these ships started without required government authorisations. The sale of two additional vessels to yards in Bangladesh with particularly poor track records and where two workers were killed in 2018, prompted Norwegian pension fund KLP to blacklist the company. 

 

Seven vessels were sold to beaching yards for dirty and dangerous scrapping by German owner Dr Peters GmbH & Co KG. According to local sources, fitter Md Samiul lost his life while scrapping Dr Peters’ DS WARRIOR in December 2018.

 

Other known shipping companies that in 2018 sold their vessels for the highest price to the worst breaking yards include: Chevron, Costamare, H-Line, Louis plc, Seabulk, SOVCOMFLOT, Teekay, Zodiac Group and CMB. Belgian CMB is still under investigation for the export of the MINERAL WATER to Bangladesh in 2016.


With the oil and gas sector seeing a downturn in the last couple of years, the Platform has documented an increase in offshore units that have gone for scrap. Out of the 138 oil and gas units which have been identified as demolished in 2018 alone, 96 ended up on the beaches of South Asia. Figures include 81 small-sized tug/supply ships and 33 semi-submersible platforms. Noble Corp, ENSCO, Tidewater, Diamond Offshore and Petrobras are amongst the biggest offshore players that dump their assets on the South Asian beaches. While most assets were exported from either East Asia or America, Diamond Offshore and cash buyer GMS are under investigation in Scotland for having attempted to illegally export three platforms that had operated in the North Sea and were cold-stacked in Cromarty Firth. The platforms have been under arrest in Scotland since January 2018.

 

Ship owners are facing increased pressure from investors and credit providers to stop selling their ships to beaching yards. In early 2018, Scandinavian pension funds KLP and GPFG were the first to divest from four shipping companies due to their beaching practices. Today, banks, pension funds and other financial institutions are actively taking a closer look at how they might contribute to a shift towards better ship recycling practices off the beach, taking into account social and environmental criteria, not just financial returns, when selecting asset values or clients.

 

Losing financing and clients, however, should not be the only concern of ship owners who continue to use dirty and dangerous scrap yards. In 2018, and for the first time ever, a ship owner was held criminally liable for having illegally traded four end-of-life ships to Indian beaching yards. Several other cases of illegal traffic are under investigation. These cases focus not only on the liability of the ship owner, but also on the responsibility of insurers, brokers and maritime warranty surveyors. By unravelling the murky practices of shipbreaking, which involve the use of middle men, or cash buyers, and flags of convenience such as Comoros, Palau and St. Kitts & Nevis, these cases highlight the importance of conducting due diligence when choosing business partners.

"Clean and safe solutions are already available. Responsible ship owners, such as Dutch Boskalis, German Hapag Lloyd, and Scandinavian companies Wallenius-Wilhelmsen and Grieg, recycle their vessels off the beach. The EU maintains a list of clean and safe ship recycling facilities [2]. More ships need to be diverted towards these sites."
Nicola Mulinaris - Communication and Policy Officer - NGO Shipbreaking Platform

For the list of all ships dismantled worldwide in 2018, click here. *

For detailed figures and analysis on ships dismantled in 2018, click here.*

 

* The data gathered by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform is sourced from different outlets and stakeholders, and is cross-checked whenever possible. The data upon which this information is based is correct to the best of the Platform’s knowledge, and the Platform takes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information provided. The Platform will correct or complete data if any inaccuracy is signaled. All data which has been provided is publicly available and does not reveal any confidential business information.

 

 

NOTES

 

[1] The Plata Glory was beached in December 2017 at Leela Ship Recycling yard. Leela holds a so-called Statement of Compliance with the Hong Kong Convention issued by ClassNK and claims to be offering “green recycling”.   

 

[2] The EU has published a list of ship recycling facilities around the world that comply with high standards for environmental protection and workers’ safety. The EU list of approved ship recycling facilities is the first of its kind and an important reference point for sustainable ship recycling. 

 

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #17

There were a total of 113 ships broken in the third quarter of 2018. Of these, 79 ships were sold to the beaches of South Asia for dirty and dangerous breaking [1]. Between July and September, three workers have lost their lives when breaking ships in Alang, India. So far this year, Platform sources have recorded 24 deaths and 9 injuries in South Asia.

 

 

On 27 August, according to trade unions, Naago Singh lost his life while working at Shri Gaitam Ship Breaking yard, located on the beach of Alang, India. Four days later, workers Budhabhai and Ali Ahmed died at Alang yard Honey Ship Breaking, owned by RKB Group. While cutting the cruise ship OCEAN GALA (formerly known as MS Scandinavia and MS Island Escape), they both fell and died on the spot. The OCEAN GALA was an iconic vessel, having featured in TV documentaries and been previously owned and/or operated by well-known companies such as DFDS, Royal Caribbean Cruises and Thomson Cruises during its 36 years of operational life. In 2018, after spending several months laid up in Dubai Khalifa, the OCEAN GALA sailed to Alang, where it was beached on 4 April.

 

No severe accidents were reported in Bangladesh and Pakistan. In Chittagong, a significant decrease in scrapping activities due to the monsoon season and increased pressure for safe working conditions from the Platform’s member organisations on local authorities, following the disastrous accident record of the first half of 2018, have no doubt contributed to a quarter with no recorded accidents. In Gadani, however, a fire broke out in July on the German-owned tanker ADA beached at plot 116. Luckily, the rescue team successfully evacuated all the workers from the ship. Activities at Gadani continue to take place in breach of decent working and environmental standards. This type of incident could have been avoided if the ban on dismantling oil tankers, which was placed following a series of accidents in 2016 and 2017, had not been lifted in April 2018.

 

In the third quarter of 2018, US, Greek and Indian ship owners sold the most ships to South Asian yards with 10 vessels beached each, followed by German and Singaporean owners. Industry sources report that the South Asian market received fewer vessels in the third quarter due to, inter alia, the monsoon season, Eid holidays and a decline in both steel prices and currencies.

 

Norwegian ship owners continue to sell ships for scrapping in South Asia. In June, Nordic American Tankers (NAT), incorporated in Bermuda and stock-listed in New York, reported the sale of eight ships for 80 million dollars. Three of these vessels ended up on the beach of Alang for breaking – five reached the beach of Chittagong, Bangladesh. According to local sources in Bangladesh, the cutting operations of most of these ships have started without the required permission of the Department of Explosives and other relevant authorities. The NORDIC SATURN was delivered to Bangladeshi SNT Shipbreaking Yard, where one worker died last December. The NORDIC JUPITER and the NORDIC FIGHTER were also bought by yards with a particularly poor track record.

 

NAT’s vessel ‘Nordic Saturn’ beached in Chittagong, Bangladesh – © NGO Shipbreaking Platform

 

The Platform continues to closely follow the police investigations on the HARRIER, a Norwegian-owned ship that was arrested as the owners were attempting to illegally export the ship to Pakistan. After being held at a Norwegian port, the vessel finally got permission to be scrapped in Turkey and reached Aliaga in late August. Before arriving Aliaga, the Turkish authorities blamed the HARRIER for a 2,5 km range oil spill in the Izmir province’s coast line. Julia Shipping, the shell company established by cash buyer Wirana and responsible for the transportation of the ship, has allegedly been fined.

 

No ship had a European flag when it was beached last quarter. All ships sold to the Chittagong, Alang and Gadani yards pass via the hands of scrap-dealers, also known as cash-buyers, that often re-register and re-flag the vessel on its final voyage. Grey- and black-listed flags of convenience are particularly popular with cash-buyers, and more than half of the ships sold to South Asia this quarter changed flag to the registries of Comoros, Niue, Palau and St. Kitts and Nevis just weeks before hitting the beach. The high number of flag changes should induce serious concerns with regards to the effectiveness of legislation based on flag state jurisdiction only. These flags are not typically used during the operational life of ships and offer ‘last voyage registration’ discounts. They are grey- and black-listed due to their poor implementation of international maritime law.

 

 

NOTE

 

[1] During the third quarter of 2018, the following number of vessels were broken in other locations: 22 in Turkey, 1 in China, 2 in Europe and 9 in the rest of the world.

 

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #16

There were a total of 220 ships broken in the second quarter of 2018. Of these, 169 ships were sold to the beaches of South Asia for dirty and dangerous breaking [1]. Between April and June, 6 workers have lost their lives and 7 workers have been severely injured when breaking ships in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Another worker was reported dead after an accident at a shipbreaking yard in Alang, India. So far this year, Platform sources have recorded 18 deaths and 9 injuries in South Asia.

 

 

As reported in our previous update, worker Shahidul Islam died at Zuma Enterprise in April while breaking the Greek tanker EKTA, owned by Anangel Group. Belal Hossain, Md Musa and Md Najmuddin Alazy were all mortally struck by falling iron pieces during the cutting operations at Asadi Steel, KR Steel and S Trading yards respectively. On 22 May, three workers got severely injured at SN Corporation, where two other workers were killed last year. Farid Ahmed, a cutter man from the Gaibanda region, was hit by an iron piece and killed at Janata Steel on 31 May. One month later, 22 years old Nayon, an employee of Kabir Steel’s Khawja shipbreaking yard, lost his life. Local sources claim that the death of Nayon has been treated as a road accident by the yard management, although there are no police records of such a type of accident having taken place. In 2018, there have already been three deaths linked to Kabir Steel.

 

According to local sources, three yards in which fatalities occurred this quarter – Kabir Steel, SN Corporation and Janata Steel – are clients of Standard Chartered Bank (SCB), although the bank neither confirmed nor denied this when asked. SN Corporation and Kabir Steel are recurring names on the list of companies involved in the death of shipbreaking workers. Janata Steel is the company that bought the infamous FPSO North Sea Producer for which the Bangladesh Supreme Court is expected to pronounce itself shortly with regards to its illegal import. A responsible financer is expected to divest from companies that have an extremely bad track record and continue to ignore basic health and safety precautions for the purpose of cutting costs.

 

In India, one accident in Alang, which cost the life of a worker, was reported: on 13 April, Ravindra Chaudhari, who was working in Plot 2, was hit by a falling steel plate and died. Plot 2, which has applied to be on the EU List of approved ship recycling facilities, and was one of the first yards in Alang to receive a so-called Statement of Compliance with the Hong Kong Convention by ClassNK, is the main yard of Leela Ship Recycling Pvt. Ltd. Apart from this incident, little is known about accident records in Alang as no information is made publically available by the authorities, and access to the yards by civil society organisations and journalists is not allowed.

 

In the second quarter of 2018, American ship owners sold the most ships to the South Asian yards with 26 vessels beached, followed by Greek and UAE owners. American company Tidewater was the worst corporate dumper with fifteen vessels beached. In the end of April, Pakistan re-opened the market to the import of tankers. In two months alone, twenty-two tankers reached the shores of Gadani to be scrapped. Industry sources report that devaluing freight rates have contributed to the demolition of over 100 tankers in the first half of 2018.

 

Only three ships had a European flag – Greece, Malta and Norway – when they were beached last quarter. All ships sold to the Chittagong, Alang and Gadani yards pass via the hands of scrap-dealers, also known as cash-buyers, that often re-register and re-flag the vessel on its final voyage. Grey- and black-listed flags of convenience are particularly popular with cash-buyers, and more than half of the ships sold to South Asia this quarter changed flag to the registries of Comoros, Niue, Palau and St. Kitts and Nevis just weeks before hitting the beach. This is the highest number of flag changes recorded by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform and raises serious concerns with regards to the effectiveness of legislation based on flag state jurisdiction. These flags are not typically used during the operational life of ships and offer ‘last voyage registration’ discounts. They are grey- and black-listed due to their poor implementation of international maritime law.

 

NOTE

 

[1] During the second quarter of 2018, the following number of vessels were broken in other locations: 33 in Turkey, 5 in China, 4 in Europe and 9 in the rest of the world.