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NGO slams shipping industry’s scrapping choices

Written by Nick Blenkey
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FEBRUARY 2, 2017 — According to NGO Shipbreaking Platform, last year saw 862 ships (27.4 million gt) dismantled worldwide, with 668 of them (23.8 million gt) being beached.

India scrapped the most ships in numbers, but Bangladesh broke most in terms of tonnage, indicating that it was the preferred destination for the larger vessels

The Shipbreaking Platform is a coalition of environmental, human and labor rights organizations created in September 2005. It says its analysis of the 2016 statistics “shows no improvements of the shipping industry’s management of its end-of-life vessels.”

“The shipping industry is nowhere close to ensuring sustainable ship recycling practices. Last year, we saw not only an increase in the market share for dangerous and dirty shipbreaking, but also a record-breaking number of EU-owned vessels on the South Asian beaches. A jaw-dropping 84% of all European end-of-life ships ended up in either India, Pakistan or Bangladesh. Beaching yards are not only well known for their failure to respect international environmental protection standards, but also for their disrespect of fundamental labor rights and international waste trade law,” says Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the Platform.

Last year saw the worst catastrophe in the history of the shipbreaking industry: on November 1, at least 28 workers were killed instantly and more than 50 injured when an explosion and a massive fire shook a tanker beached in Gadani, Pakistan.

The death toll in the Bangladeshi yards, which the Platform was able to document, reached 22 in 2016, with another 29 workers having suffered serious injuries.

While accident records in Indian shipbreaking yards are kept a secret, the Platform was informed of at least two fatal deaths in Alang.

In the view of NGO Shipbreaking, Germany is responsible for the worst shipbreaking practices among all shipping nations when the size of its fleet is compared to the number of ships broken irresponsibly.



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