Press Release – Turning point: new tech and developments for a new future of ship recycling presented at the Lab

Stakeholders that are pioneering a new future for sustainable ship recycling gathered in Rotterdam at the NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s Ship Recycling Lab: Transformation through Innovation. New technologies, ethical circular economy models, strategic policies for the steel industry, and many more topics linked to ship demolition, ship design, waste management and material recovery were discussed during the two-day event. 

"We aimed at boosting engagement for a new standard at the Ship Recycling Lab. Companies that can safely dismantle large assets ‘off the beach’ and use technologies ranging from automation and robotics to the age-old, tried and true use of dry docks came in numbers. Coupled with the growing market for sustainably produced scrap steel, it has become clear that the business case for truly responsible ship recycling is rising."
Ingvild Jenssen - Executive Director & Founder - NGO Shipbreaking Platform

 

The current industrial and political shift to a circular and low-carbon economy has brought ship recycling to a turning point. Participants at the Lab showcased how they are seizing new opportunities for innovation created by the momentum for green and regenerative design, production and end-of-life management.  

 

Circular Maritime Technologies International BV (CMT) chose the Lab to share its new cutting technology, which is transferable to any facility and reduces the vessel's size in several automated steps. 

 

Founders of Leviathan GmbH, Simeon Hiertz and Karsten Schumacher, announced at the Lab their cooperation with German Naval Yards on facilitating clean and safe ship recycling in Kiel. The technology developed by Leviathan, which includes the use of robots and cold water cutting techniques, will be available to owners of large vessels in a dry dock of 426x88m.

"Now our vision of automated, people- and environmentally-friendly ship recycling is becoming a reality. At the same time, we are securing important steel as a raw material for European steel production, assisting European steelmakers to reduce their carbon footprint."
Simeon Hiertz - Founder - Leviathan GmbH

 

Head of Climate Change and Governmental Affairs at ArcelorMittal Europe, Stephane Tondo, also speaking at the Lab, stated that the green transition will require the decarbonisation of steel production. According to EuRIC, using one tonne of sustainably produced scrap saves at least 1.67 tonnes of CO2. Increasing the share of scrap in steel production and ensuring proximity to raw materials are key strategies to ensure decarbonisation, said ArcelorMittal. The latter revealed its cooperation with CMT for the possible development of a new ship recycling facility in Gent, Belgium, close to its steel plant. Noting that the European Union (EU) will soon become a net importer of scrap, ArcelorMittal is now looking for additional partnerships with recyclers close to its other steel plants in the EU in order to ensure access to good quality scrap steel from vessels. 

 

"There are many reasons to be optimistic and to bet on the innovators that spoke at the Lab. They are convinced that responsible ship recycling can compete, especially given that integrated circular economy hubs, where building, maintenance, repair and material recovery take place side by side, are in view."
Ingvild Jenssen - Executive Director & Founder - NGO Shipbreaking Platform

For those who want to learn about the new developments that will shape the future of the industry and the forward-thinkers that spoke at the Lab, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform has published the new magazine Breaking Out: Anchoring Circular Innovation for Ship Recycling. This first edition of Breaking Out cuts across sectors with an eye on the latest technologies and policies aimed at reinventing ship recycling for the twenty-first century.

"Green investors will find lots of inspiring projects in Breaking Out. We also encourage ship owners that unfortunately did not make it to the Lab in great numbers to read the magazine. It is a solutions-oriented publication providing insights on what responsible recycling means via in-depth articles, interviews and spotlight profiles. It showcases very concrete new destinations for their end-of-life assets."
Ingvild Jenssen - Executive Director & Founder - NGO Shipbreaking Platform

Platform News – REMINDER: Ship Recycling Lab on 20-21 September in Rotterdam

It’s almost time! We hope your calendars are marked because the Ship Recycling Lab is about to take place in the shipping hub of Rotterdam.

 

On the 20th and 21st of September, forward-thinking stakeholders from the maritime, recycling and steel sectors, financial institutions, and policymakers will gather at the iconic Kunsthal Museum, where they will showcase and exchange ideas for best practices and strategies for ship demolition, design, waste management and material recovery in line with ethical circular policy goals.

 

The event will provide visibility to companies that have developed solutions, including innovative cutting techniques, new state-of-the-art waste handling procedures, cradle-to-cradle concept design, and clean steel breakthrough technologies aimed at achieving a zero-carbon steel-making process. Curious and want to learn more? Check out the list of speakers and the online agenda here.

 

What are the impacts of unregulated shipbreaking practices on workers and the environment? What does it mean to sustainably recycle vessels in line with ethical circularity? What impacts will the increased demand for scrap steel have on the ship recycling market? How can new innovative technologies and economic and policy instruments drive an ethical circular economy?

 

We try to answer these questions in conversation with leading advocates for environmental justice, ship owners, steel producers, policy makers, researchers, shipbuilders, ship recycling experts, and many more.

 

Don’t waste any time. Register and buy your tickets now at www.shiprecyclinglab.org. Come join us! 

Any questions? Contact us at events@shipbreakingplatform.org.
 

We encourage you to join the discussions on Twitter using the hashtag #SRLab. You can also follow the event organisers @ShipRecLab and @NGOShipbreaking.

 

Platform News – SAVE THE DATE: Ship Recycling Lab on 20-21 September in Rotterdam

Recognising the need for visionary solutions for ship recycling, we are hosting our first Ship Recycling Lab: Transformation through Innovation on 20-21 September 2022 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

 

The event will bring together forward-thinking stakeholders from the maritime, recycling and steel sectors, financial institutions and policy makers to showcase and exchange ideas for best practices and strategies for ship demolition, design, waste management and material recovery in line with ethical circular policy goals.

 

Providing visibility to companies that have developed solutions, including innovative cutting techniques, new state-of-the-art waste handling procedures, cradle to cradle concept design, and clean steel breakthrough technologies aimed at achieving a zero-carbon steel making process, the Lab intends to set the bar for tomorrow’s ship recycling. 

 

Come join us and 200+ progressive stakeholders for networking opportunities, inspiring keynote speaker sessions, thought-provoking presentations, interactive panel discussions, a photo exhibition from Bangladesh and a live performance at the iconic Kunsthal museum in the shipping hub of Rotterdam in September!

 

Register and buy your tickets now at www.shiprecyclinglab.org to get a €200 Early Bird Discount. 

Any questions? Contact us at events@shipbreakingplatform.org.
 

We encourage you to join the discussions on Twitter using the hashtag #SRLab. You can also follow the event organisers @ShipRecLab and @NGOShipbreaking.

 

Platform News – NGO Shipbreaking Platform awarded grant by Royal Academy of Engineering and Lloyd’s Register Foundation

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded a grant by the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Lloyd's Register Foundation under the international collaboration Engineering X - Safer End of Engineered Life Mission. The grant will support a project, in partnership with our member organisation Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers’ Association (BELA), that aims at increasing public awareness of the current shipbreaking practices on the beaches of South Asia, including workers’ rights in Bangladesh, as well as at pushing for an industry shift towards truly sustainable practices.

"We thank the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Lloyd's Register Foundation for the support. This award will strengthen our work at national level for increased transparency and business accountability in the shipbreaking sector and for protection of the labourers from occupational hazards."
Syeda Rizwana Hasan - Supreme Court lawyer and Director of Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association

Engineering X has awarded nearly £1 million in grants to six projects in the UK and overseas aimed at tackling the complex social, environmental and engineering challenges of decommissioning ships and offshore structures. The Platform features as partner also in another project led by the University of Southampton.

 

With a broad base of supporters both in orientation and geographically, including membership in ship owning as well as shipbreaking countries, the Platform plays an important role in promoting solutions that encompass the respect of human rights, corporate responsibility and environmental justice. If you share our vision, contact us to find out how we can work together.

 

Platform News – Platform’s member BELA awarded the 2020 Tang Prize

We are pleased to announce that the NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s member organisation Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Tang Prize in Rule of Law for its exemplary perseverance in promoting greater environmental justice, in milieus where the foundations of the rule of law are under severe challenge.

 

Established in 1992 by Dr. Mohiuddin Farooque, BELA promotes environmental justice and has secured sound environmental jurisprudence in Bangladesh through public interest litigation, advocacy, research and publications, as well as capacity-building for actors in the public sector and civil society.

 

Ever since the first case, Dr. Mohiuddin Farooque v. Bangladesh & Others in 1994, BELA has initiated more than 250 public interest litigations and advocated for legislative reform for environmental justice. Issues drawn within its ambit have ranged as widely as river pollution, industrial pollution, vehicular pollution, illegal construction, labour welfare, illegal mining, prevention of soil erosion, reduction of plastic use, wetland protection and prevention of pollution from shipbreaking. The latter was the focus of a recent ground-breaking judgement given by the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh in a public interest litigation filed by  BELA.

 

By persuading the courts to recognise its standing to instigate a case on behalf of people affected by environmental degradation, BELA successfully opened the path for public interest litigation. BELA also moved the courts to extend the fundamental right to life to cover the right to a decent environment under the Constitution.

 

The Tang Prize is a set of biennial international awards bestowed by  the Taiwanese Tang Prize Foundation in four fields: Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology, and Rule of Law. The 2020 Tang Prize in Rule of Law,  was also awarded to Colombian Dejusticia: The Center for Law, Justice and Society and Lebanese The Legal Agenda.

 

Platform News – SAVE THE DATE: “With Bare Hands” on 3 October 2019 in Brussels

Want to learn more about where our toxic waste ends up? What efforts are being made to stop it from causing harm to communities and the environment in the Global South? 

 

MO* Magazine, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform and its member organisation FIDH are organising a debate at the iconic Beursschouwburg in Brussels on 3 October. 

 

Come listen to, amongst others, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics, Baskut Tuncak; Goldman Prize winner and Bangladesh Supreme Court lawyer, Syeda Rizwana Hasan; Belgian Federal Police; and Members of the European Parliament talk about ways to prevent toxic trade. 

 

The debate will be followed by the performance With Bare Hands (Live): Life in Bangladesh's Shipbreaking Yards, written by Isacco Chiaf, Sharanya Deepak, Serenella Martufi and Caroline Massie.

 

Due to the limited number of seats available, the registration is mandatory. Participants can register here. 

 

 

Background 

 

After a slew of toxic trade disasters in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the international community rallied together to reject the free trade of hazardous materials, prompting the adoption of international treaties that aim at regulating transboundary waste flows. The laws are however easy to circumvent and the developed world’s waste still finds its way to developing counties for cheap and unsafe disposal. The impact of toxic waste dumping in these counties is devastating and severely harms both human health and the environment.

 

Electronic waste (e-waste) and end-of-life ships are amongst the most devastating toxic waste streams globally. The debate, which is part of the festival Quinzaine de la Solidarité Internationale - Veertiendaagse Internationale Solidariteit 2019, will address the global impact caused by the dumping of hazardous waste, focusing particularly on these two waste flows.

 

 

Practical info

 

Event Timing: 3 October 2019, 17:30 - 20:30

 

Event Address: Beursschouwburg - Goudenzaal, Rue Auguste Orts 20-28, 1000 Brussels

 

Platform News – Performance With Bare Hands (Live) in Brussels

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform invites you to attend the artistic performance With Bare Hands (Live) on Friday 21 June in Brussels (Belgium). 

 

With Bare Hands (Live) is a show in which live music, video, and the testimonies of the people directly affected by the most dangerous industry in the world are combined to create a unique narrative experience. The audience will visit the shipbreaking beaches of South Asia, one of the deadliest and most polluted places on earth.

 

The vast majority of world's end-of-life ships are broken down on the shores of South Asia. On the one hand, workers, often exploited migrants, lose their lives and suffer injuries and occupational diseases due to unsafe working conditions and exposure to toxic substances. On the other hand, coastal ecosystems and the local communities depending on them are devastated by toxic spills and other types of pollution. 

 

With Bare Hands (Live) will give the web-documentary With Bare Hands, created by photojournalist Tomaso Clavarino and video maker Isacco Chiaf in 2016, a new dimension. 

 

The event is organised in collaboration with LaVallée, a project developed by Smart Belgique.

 

 

WITH BARE HANDS (Live) - The human and environmental costs of shipbreaking

Written by Isacco Chiaf, Sharanya Deepak, Serenella Martufi, Caroline Massie

 

FRIDAY 21 JUNE - FREE ENTRANCE

Live show starts at 9 pm

 

LaVallée

Rue Adolphe Lavallée 39

1080 Brussels (Belgium)

 

 

Press Release – The hypocrisy of better beaches: winners of the “Public Eye Investigation Award” shed light on shipbreaking in Alang and Swiss companies’ involvement

Belgian journalist Gie Goris, Editor in Chief of MO* Magazine, and Nicola Mulinaris, Communication and Policy Officer of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, received Public Eye’s first ever “Investigation Award” for their research on the shipbreaking business.

 

Gie Goris looked for signs of Swiss shipping companies in the Indian town of Alang, where ships go to die. There, he saw many middle-aged wrecks, and met angry trade unionists and workers deprived of their rights and risking their health on a daily basis for a meagre wage. Swiss ship owners, including container giant MSC, use the Alang beach to dispose of their floating toxic waste while boosting their profits. The “recycling” methods of the Geneva-based company MSC, which recently attracted critical headlines for the damage its containers caused in the North Sea, show the vast rift between sustainability promises and the reality of the Swiss shipping industry’s business practices. 

 

Nicola Mulinaris supported Goris in shedding light on the political context behind the illegal trade of toxic waste and showing the important, but ignominious, role played by landlocked Switzerland in dealing with end-of-life ships.

This story, which was published yesterday also by Public Eye, is just an extract of a bigger investigation. The full report "Behind the Hypocrisy of Better Beaches" takes a closer look at industry attempts to greenwash beaching and the lobbying for double standards by embedded policymakers in Europe.

"With this investigation we expose how vested interests have become greenwashing champions to derail and delay real progress."
Nicola Mulinaris - Communication and Policy Officer - NGO Shipbreaking Platform

 

Set up to celebrate Public Eye’s 50th anniversary in 2018, the “Investigation Award” honoured and funded journalistic research into human rights violations, environmental offences or other irresponsible practices of Swiss companies in developing or emerging countries. A jury comprised of renowned media professionals and Public Eye staff selected two projects [1] from a shortlist of 55.

 

Yesterday, the two investigations were presented to the public in Zurich, during an event held at Kosmos. A panel debate on the relationship between media and NGOs followed the authors’ presentations.

 

 

 

NOTE

 

[1] “The Blazing Success of Swiss Cigarettes in Africa” is the other project that won the "Public Eye Investigation Award". Lausanne-based reporter Marie Maurisse examined the secret recipes that Swiss tobacco companies use for cigarettes earmarked for export to Africa, in particular to Morocco. In 2017 alone, 2,900 tonnes – or 3,625 cigarettes – were exported to the country. Tests undertaken exclusively for her research revealed a scandalous double standard: cigarettes produced by Philip Morris and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) in Switzerland and sold in Morocco contained markedly higher levels of particles, nicotine and carbon monoxide than those produced for the domestic market. In contrast to the laws in the EU, Swiss legislation allows tobacco companies registered in the country – clearly not by coincidence – to produce and export products that are significantly more harmful and addictive than those sold in Switzerland. According to the WHO, the number of smoking-related deaths in Africa will double by 2030 (with help from Switzerland).

 

 

Platform News – Problems of shipbreaking presented at the 2018 Vicino/Lontano Festival

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform is grateful to have participated in the 2018 Vicino/Lontano Festival, which was held from 10 May to 13 May in Udine, Italy.

 

The Vicino/Lontano Festival has, since its very beginning, been closely linked to the figure of journalist and writer Tiziano Terzani, to whose memory the Festival’s annual literary prize is dedicated. It encompasses a broad range of initiatives and events, including debates, discussion forums, seminars, lectures, exhibitions, performances and screenings. Scholars, journalists, writers and artists of international renown gather together to analyze the economic, social, cultural, and geopolitical trends currently impacting our globalized world, and, in the process, attempt to reach a better understanding of the forces and mechanisms driving global change and how these are likely to shape future realities.

 

The photo exhibition ‘With Bare Hands – The human and environmental costs of shipbreaking’, an extract from a web documentary done by Tomaso Clavarino and Isacco Chiaf, was the Platform’s entry to this year’s festival edition that focused on global inequalities. In 2016, Clavarino, journalist and photographer, and Chiaf, video maker and graphic designer, travelled to Bangladesh and India, where dirty and dangerous scrapping is conducted on the tidal beaches of Chittagong and Alang. With texts, infographics, videos, photo-essays, interviews and maps, they have been able to show how shipbreaking activities are contributing to the destruction of the ecosystem and negatively affecting the lives of thousands of people.

 

 

The official inauguration of the exhibition took place on 11 May at the gallery MAKE. With the presence of Vicino/Lontano’s vice-president and the City Councillor responsible for culture, Clavarino and Nicola Mulinaris, the Platform’s communication officer, introduced the audience to the topic of shipbreaking, highlighting its international dimension and negative impacts.

 

What impressed me the most during the days spent in Bangladesh and India, besides the extremely inhuman working conditions and evident pollution, was the difficulty to access this industry. That journalists and photographers are not welcome was clearly communicated. We still managed to penetrate this extremely closed industry – and the devastating stories we documented cannot be ignored”, said Tomaso Clavarino.

 

In the last two years, With Bare Hands, which was funded by the European Journalism Centre, has been published in several international media outlets [1]. The Platform, with the support of its member organisation Legambiente and the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, presented the project to the public in the form of photo exhibition also at the European Parliament in Brussels (June 2017) and at RED La Feltrinelli in Rome (January 2018).

 

NOTE

 

[1] E.g. Al Jazeera, El Pais, Corriere della Sera.

 

Platform News – European institutions call on EU to address decommissioning of floating oil and gas structures

 

A joint event between the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and three Green Members of the European Parliament highlighted the paradox between the strict rules under OSPAR for the decommissioning of fixed oil platforms from the North Sea with the rules that govern the recycling of floating platforms and structures. The latter fall under the same rules as commercial ships, and would therefore have to follow the EU Ship Recycling Regulation. The NGO Shipbreaking Platform and other stakeholders have already highlighted the weakness of the SRR which needs to be coupled with a financial incentive to curb the trend to flag out and circumvent the legislation. A financial incentive would also be an opportunity to steer the market towards proper recycling yards included under the EU list of approved facilities.

 

There are a growing number of unutilised and obsolete floating oil and gas structures which have been operating in the North Sea. These structures are effectively floating industrial plants, which need to be dismantled using the highest standards of precaution, many containing asbestos and residues of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM). So far, assets from the North Sea have not ended up on the South Asian beaches with the infamous exception of the FPSO tanker NORTH SEA PRODUCER [1]. Yet the NGO Shipbreaking Platform has observed more structures from other oil fields being towed across the globe to be beached in South Asia for dirty and dangerous scrapping. There is a real concern that we will see more rigs and oil and gas assets ending up there, and cash buyers, such as GMS, and marine service providers, such as Aqualis, have had no shame in their efforts to attract the owners of these structures to sell them to the beaches.

 

On 22 June the EESC hosted a conference attended by the members of the CCMI committee . It was clear from the presentations by the port of Fredrikshaven and the Spanish recycler DDR that there is a real business case for Europe and the regions with a recycling capacity to be promoted through a financial incentive. There are even foreign investments that are being made in Denmark to cater for the increased need to decommission the structures from the oil and gas fields in the North Sea. Trade unions also back the movement in support of a financial incentive which would boost the decommissioning and recycling industry and protect highly qualified jobs in a heavy industry. The widespread sentiment was that public support for a responsible and proper recycling industry which is in compliance with the EU SRR, provides for an opportunity to invest in green jobs, cleaner technology and R&D, all in line with ambitions for a circular economy.

 

On 28 June the second part of the event was hosted by MEPs Margrete AUKEN, Pascal DURAND and Bart STAES. The European Parliament placed the focus on the EU Commission to broaden the interest of ship and rig recycling to other policy areas, such as growth, trade, energy, innovation and employment, to name a few. The only opponents to the idea that a clean industry should be promoted in all these aspects were the ship owners present. Most ship owners still do not see themselves as participants in finding sustainable solutions to cleaning up the recycling of their assets, which ultimately should be their responsibility. On the up side, all other participants and speakers, including the EU Commission, acknowledged the positive effects and the added value in ensuring that floating rigs and ships are recycled in EU-listed facilities.

 

If the EU takes the Juncker plan seriously, it has to grab such a chance for Europe’s industry and provide the necessary legal instruments. Only then can ‘beaching’ come to a halt“, said MEP Margrete Auken [2].

 

NOTES

 

[1] The illegal export of the NORTH SEA PRODUCER from the UK to Bangladesh for scrapping is currently being investigated by the UK environmental authorities DEFRA. Maersk owned the FPSO tanker in joint venture with Brazilian oil and gas company Odebrecht, and sold it to a St Kitts and Nevis post box company established by cash buyer GMS. The FPSO was allowed to leave the UK under the false pretext that it would be further operationally used in Nigeria. Instead it was directly towed to the beach in Bangladesh. There, legal action has now been taken to halt the breaking of the tanker which is laden with hazardous materials, including NORM.

 

[2] See press statement from the EESC.