American boxline Matson has agreed to stop beaching its ships for recycling in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Its last ship due for the beaches, the 42-year-old Horizon Trader, is now en route. After that, the line has committed to look elsewhere, under pressure from a number of NGOs. Some 23 vessels in the Matson fleet will require scrapping in the coming five years.
NGOs have stepped up their campaign to get shipping lines to stop beaching their old ships.
According to the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), up to 20% of the shipbreaking workforce in Bangladesh are children under the age of 15.
“While we regret that one more US ship is likely to end up on the killing beaches of South Asia, we recognize the important commitment Matson has made for future recycling contracts,” said Colby Self, the green ship recycling director at Basel Action Network. “Shipowners today can no longer claim ignorance. They know very well the environmental and human health impacts of their ship recycling decisions, which for too long have been ignored to maximize profits. Matson’s off-the-beach commitment reflects a level of corporate leadership which we hope will be echoed by other US shipping companies.”