Press Release – Appeal Court confirms prison sentence for Norwegian ship owner

The Gulating Lagmannsrett, an Appeal Court in the Norwegian city of Bergen, has confirmed the prison sentence for Norwegian ship owner Georg Eide for aiding and abetting the attempt to export the ship Tide Carrier, aka Eide Carrier and Harrier, to Pakistan for scrapping [1].

 

Back in November 2020, the First Instance Sunnhordland District Court in Norway had sentenced Mr Eide to six months unconditional imprisonment for having assisted scrap dealer Wirana in an attempt to illegally export the Tide Carrier to the shipbreaking beach of Gadani. The Court had also ordered the confiscation of criminal dividends of NOK 2 million from Eide Marine Eidendom AS.

 

Now, almost a year and a half later, Mr Eide, who had decided to appeal the first verdict, sees his prison sentence confirmed. As reported by ShippingWatch, the Court concluded, in line with the National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime's (Økokrim), that the ship owner was aware that the Tide Carrier’s buyer was intending to scrap the vessel in South Asia, in violation of national and European waste rules. According to the Appeal Court, having sold the vessel to a middle man and not directly to a beaching yard does not provide for exempting the ship owner from being held liable for having committed an environmental crime.

 

Transboundary movements of hazardous wastes are strictly regulated by Norwegian, European and international laws. Illegal trade of toxic end-of-life ships are increasingly being investigated by enforcement authorities in several EU Member States, which have the obligation to prevent the export of hazardous wastes to non-OECD countries. Upholding the principles and rules set in the Basel Convention and EU waste legislation, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform expects that more ship owners and intermediaries will be held accountable for the exploitation of vulnerable communities and the environment on the shipbreaking beaches of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and call upon the shipping industry to conduct human rights due diligence when managing their end-of-life fleet.

 

NOTE

 

[1] For more details on the case, see The controversial case of the Harrier.

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #27

In this quarterly publication, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform informs about the shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Providing an overview of accidents that took place on the beaches of South Asia and recent on-the-ground developments, including our activities, we aim to inform the public about the negative impacts of substandard shipbreaking practices as well as positive steps aimed at the realisation of environmental justice and the protection of workers’ rights. 

 

Click here or on the image below to access the full version of our quarterly report. 

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #26

In this quarterly publication, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform informs about the shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Providing an overview of accidents that took place on the beaches of South Asia and recent on-the-ground developments, including our activities, we aim to inform the public about the negative impacts of substandard shipbreaking practices as well as positive steps aimed at the realisation of environmental justice and the protection of workers’ rights. 

 

Click here or on the image below to access the full version of our quarterly report. 

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #25

In this quarterly publication, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform informs about the shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Providing an overview of accidents that took place on the beaches of South Asia and recent on-the-ground developments, including our activities, we aim to inform the public about the negative impacts of substandard shipbreaking practices as well as positive steps aimed at the realisation of environmental justice and the protection of workers’ rights. 

 

Click here or on the image below to access the full version of our quarterly report. 

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #24

In this quarterly publication, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform informs about the shipbreaking industry in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Providing an overview of accidents that took place on the beaches of South Asia and recent on-the-ground developments, including our activities, we aim to inform the public about the negative impacts of substandard shipbreaking practices as well as positive steps aimed at the realisation of environmental justice and the protection of workers’ rights. 

 

Our annual list of ships scrapped worldwide will be released in a couple of weeks.

 

Click here or on the image below to access the full version of our quarterly report. 

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #23

There were a total of 170 ships broken in the third quarter of 2020. Of these, 110 ships were sold to the beaches of South Asia, where, despite several yards being closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, shipbreaking activities continued to put workers’ lives at risk. Between July and September, at least four workers were severely injured and one worker lost his life in Bangladesh. 

 

 

On July 1, Rohul (47 years old) suffered an accident at KSB Steels shipbreaking yard. He fell and broke five ribs while dismantling the ship STELLAR IRIS (IMO 9083093), owned by South Korean company Polaris Shipping. On the same day, Mozaffor (42 years old) fell down while dismantling another Polaris’ vessel, the STELLAR JOURNEY (IMO 9050230), at RA Shipbreaking yard. Mozaffor was transferred to Dhaka Hospital as the medical assistance was inadequate in Chattogram.

 

On July 20, Rashidul Islam (45 years old) died while dismantling an unidentified vessel at N.R. Shipbreaking yard. Rashidul was fatally hit by a falling object.

 

On July 21, Faruk (24 years old) got injured at Arefin Shipbreaking yard. He was breaking the Japanese-owned vessel INNOVATOR (IMO 8508905) when an iron plate hit his head.

 

On August 27, Mokbul (40 years old) suffered an accident at T.R. Shipbreakers yard, owned by Didarul Alam, a member of the Bangladeshi Parliament. He was hit by an iron plate in his back. Mokbul did not receive any treatment or compensation from the yard owner in order to satisfy his livelihood needs.

 

In the third quarter of 2020, Greek ship owners sold the most ships to South Asian yards, closely followed by Japanese, Russian and South Korean owners. South Korean company Polaris Shipping sold another two vessels to Pakistan. The ship owner, which hit the headlines in June for the scuttling of the ore carrier STELLAR BANNER off the coast of Brazil, has sold a total of seven ships for dirty and dangerous breaking in Bangladesh and Pakistan this year.

 

In April, we urged Bangladesh, India and Pakistan to halt the import of a highly toxic offshore unit that had illegally departed from Indonesia. The Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) tanker J. NAT (now renamed RADIANT) left Indonesian waters despite local activists having warned Indonesian authorities about the toxicity of the vessel. Following our actions and local media reports, the government of Bangladesh directed all departments concerned not to allow the ship to enter Bangladeshi territory. Similarly, Indian authorities have recently warned Alang shipbreaking yards not to accept the toxic tanker for scrapping. Maritime sources now indicate that the vessel is sailing towards Gadani, Pakistan.

 

Almost one third 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 scrap-dealers 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 European Union (EU) Ship Recycling Regulation. The Platform recorded at least seven ships that de-registered from a European flag registry (e.g. Cyprus, Germany, Malta) prior the last voyage to South Asia in order to circumvent EU legislation. The export of one of these ships also breached the Basel Convention’s Ban Amendment, which prohibits the export of hazardous waste, including end-of-life vessels, from the OECD, the EU and Liechtenstein to other countries – primarily developing countries or countries with economies in transition. The Ro-Ro cargo ship ZERAN, owned by Polish Ocean Lines, swapped its Maltese flag to that of Panama and illegally left Turkish waters at the end of July. It was beached in Bangladesh in September.   

 

Investigations have been launched by authorities in Iceland following the illegal export of two container vessels owned by Icelandic company Eimskip to India. Icelandic program Kveikur released a documentary on the murky sale of the two ships. Eimskip’s counterpart to the sale was none other than GMS, one of the most well-known cash buyers of end-of-life ships.

 

 

Click here or on the image below to access the full version of our quarterly report. 

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #22

There were a total of 98 ships broken in the second quarter of 2020. Of these, 60 ships were sold to the beaches of South Asia, where, despite the majority of yards being closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, shipbreaking kept putting workers’ lives at risk. Between April and June, at least 3 workers were severely injured in Bangladesh.

 

 

On April 24, Jalal (35) suffered an accident at Habib Steel shipbreaking yard. He got injured while carrying oxygen bottles from inside the ship.  

 

According to local sources and media, worker Md. Khalil (45) got injured on April 28 at an unauthorised shipbreaking yard recently opened by lawmaker Didarul Alam. Khalil’s leg broke after a hatch cover fell on him while dismantling the vessel Berge Eiger, owned by shipping company Berge Bulk. The worker was transferred to the Dhaka Hospital due to the severity of the injury. 

 

On June 22, an accident took place during an illegal night shift at Jumuna Ship Breakers yard. Abdul Halim (24) was hit by an iron piece in the stomach while cutting the vessel Stellar Knight, owned by South Korean Polaris Shipping. It took a couple of hours for the worker to be transported to the nearest hospital.

 

In the second quarter of 2020, Greek ship owners sold the most ships to South Asian yards, closely followed by Singaporean and South Korean owners. South Korean company Polaris Shipping sold three vessels to Bangladesh for dirty and dangerous breaking. The ship owner hit the headlines in June for the scuttling of the ore carrier STELLAR BANNER off the coast of Brazil.

 

In April, we urged Bangladesh to halt the import of a highly toxic offshore unit that had illegally departed from Indonesia. The Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) tanker J. NAT left Indonesian waters even though local activists warned Indonesian authorities about the toxicity of the vessel. Following our actions and local media reports, the government of Bangladesh directed all departments concerned not to allow the ship to enter Bangladeshi territory. Maritime databases seem to indicate that the vessel reversed course and changed name to RADIANT. However, its current whereabouts are unknown. 

 

Almost one third of the ships sold to South Asia this quarter changed flag to the registries of Comoros, 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 European Union (EU) Ship Recycling Regulation.

 

How Covid-19 is affecting vulnerable shipbreaking workers

 

The pandemic is still affecting workers globally, including those employed in the shipbreaking sector in South Asia. 

 

Bangladesh

 

According to local sources, all shipbreaking yards resumed their activities on June 1. One third of them never shut down despite the lockdown, exposing the workers to the risk of contracting the virus and spreading it in the vulnerable local communities.

 

Having been deprived of accessing government support, which is offered only to local workers, migrant workers have been unable to return to their home villages due to the absence of public transport services. Forced to continue to pay rent for the unsanitary and improper accommodation near the shipbreaking yards, migrant workers, mainly from the Northwest of Bangladesh, have been left to starve. This unprecedented emergency situation led us to raise financial support to distribute, in partnership with our member organisation OSHE, food and personal protective equipment items to 130 of the most deprived shipbreaking workers’ families in Sitakunda. 

 

India

 

After a month since the start of the national lockdown in India, the government announced the reopening of several industries in Gujarat. At the end of June, around 30% of the workforce was working at the shipbreaking yards in Alang. The fact that around 75% the migrant workers returned to their home villages in Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra has led the yard owners to look at the diamond sector’s unemployed workers from Saurashtra.

 

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

 

€50
Feeds 1 family – 5 family members – for 2 weeks

 

€100
Feeds 2 families – 10 family members – for 2 weeks

 

€500
Feeds 10 families – 50 family members – for 2 weeks

 

€1,000
Feeds 20 families – 100 family members – for 2 weeks

 

€1,000+
We still need to help thousands of workers who have been affected by this pandemic

 

€ 
Other amount (please specify)

 

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

 

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.

 

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).