Out of 262 vessels sold for breaking during the first quarter of 2015, more than half (151 ships) ended up on the beaches of South Asia as owners continue to scrap their vessels at substandard yards, the latest quarterly report of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform shows.
All together, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan accounted for 58% of the number of ships dismantled in the first quarter of 2015.
39 of these ships were owned by European ship owners, most of whom were Greek (30) ships beached in total this quarter).
Greek owners continued selling most of their ships to South Asia: Star Bulk Carriers Corporation and Technomar Shipping Incorporated, both based in Athens, each sold three end-of-life ships to the beaching yards in 2015, the report said.
In comparison, German owners only sent 4 ships to South Asia so far. German ship-owning company Hapag-Lloyd reviewed its ship recycling policy in 2014 and decided to sell two of its end-of-life ships to cleaner and safer yards this quarter: one ship to a Turkish recycling yard (the Bonn Express) and another ship (the Paris Express) to a Chinese recycling yard.
Despite the new EU law out-ruling the use of substandard beaching yards to dismantle EU-flagged vessels and which will soon become applicable, ships registered under the flags of Malta, Cyprus and France hit the beaches.
Some ships also changed their flag from an EU to a non-EU flag just weeks before reaching South Asia.
“Two bulkers sold to Bangladeshi yards by another Greek company, The Angelicoussis Group, swapped their Greek flags just days before breaking, one for Palau and the other for Comoros, most probably when a cash buyer registered the ship for the last voyage,” the NGO Shipbreaking Platform said.
Flags of convenience (FOCs), which are grey- or black-listed by the Paris Memorandum of Understanding for their weak enforcement of international maritime law, such as Saint Kitts-Nevis, Comoros and Tuvalu, were excessively popular flags for the end-of-life ships broken in South Asia. These flags are hardly used during the operational life of a vessel.
According to the report, Chinese owners continued to sell more ships to Chinese yards than to South Asian yards this quarter. China is thus becoming the only leading shipping nation which so far ensures the clean and safe dismantling of a substantial part of its end-of-life fleet in modern ship recycling facilities.