Shippers campaign to scrap beach demolition of ships

London: Carriers’ contracts with major shippers could be affected if they fail to implement sustainable ship recycling policies and cease selling vessels for demolition on tidal beaches.

Eleven major shippers, including H&M, Tetra Laval, ABB, Philips, Volvo and Volkswagen, have warned shipping companies that sustainable ship recycling is an issue they will consider when signing agreements.

Poor environmental performance and social policy will also influence business decisions made by the group of exporters.

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform published its annual list of global dumpers in January, which found 641 ships were sold for substandard shipbreaking on the tidal beaches of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in 2014.

“Several of these ships were owned by companies that the members of the Clean Shipping Network (CSN), a network of 32 multinationals, use to transport their products,” Shipbreaking Platform said, including MSC, Hanjin, MOL, Yang Ming, Conti, G Bulk and Danaos.

The CSN has asked the companies named in the list of dumpers to review their policies and practices regarding the selling and demolition of end-of-life vessels, Shipbreaking Platform says.

The shipping companies have also been asked to report on their ship recycling policy in the Clean Shipping Index questionnaire, which cargo owners use to evaluate the environmental performance of their ocean carriers.

“Ship dismantling on the beaching yards of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan is associated with severe pollution and unsafe working conditions,” Clean Shipping Network (CSN) said in a statement on March 18. “Members of the CSN strongly condemn and distance themselves from such ship breaking practices. By addressing this issue, Clean Shipping Network members aim to support progress to cleaner and safer ship recycling practices globally.”

Thirteen large shipping companies currently follow sustainable ship recycling policies, including Royal Dutch Boskalis, Canadian CSL Group and Singapore-based China Navigation Company. Germany’s Hapag Lloyd has also opted to stop recycling vessels on beaches.

Holly Birkett

Holly is Splash's Online Editor and correspondent for the UK and Mediterranean. She has been a maritime journalist since 2010, and has written for and edited several trade publications. She is currently studying for membership of the Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers. In 2013, Holly won the Seahorse Club's Social Media Journalist of the Year award. She is currently based in London.
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