Norwegian Shipowners Association has said NO to hazardous beaching of ships, thus becoming the first country to discourage its shipowners from such practices.
“As an industry, we cannot defend scrapping of ships in a way that endangers people’s health and puts the environment at risk. Therefore we say, as the first shipping associations in the world, no to “beaching” of ships,” said Sturla Henriksen, CEO of NSA.
Most ships have a lifespan of 25-30 years before reduced efficiency and costly repairs make them unprofitable to operate and they are sent for scrap.
Data collected and analysed by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform shows that out of 213 vessels sold for breaking during the second quarter of 2015, more than half -136 ships- ended their operational life on the beaches of South Asia. Forty-five of these ships were owned by European ship owners, including EFTA owners – two from Norway and one from Switzerland.
South Asian scrapyards, especially those in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India currently account for about 90 percent of the world’s cut capacity for large ships.
Even though there are great differences between the said yards, a common characteristic for such facilities is that they are extremely dangerous for workers who lack the necessary protection gear and are often injured in accidents that tend to be even fatal.
Between April and July 2015, the Platform documented at least six fatal accidents in the shipbreaking yards in Bangladesh. It recorded three severe injuries in these three months.
“We expect that Norwegian shipowners now will follow the strong advice made by Sturla Henriksen and the Norwegian Shipowners Association.
“I guarantee that Bellona will continue to name and shame Norwegian shipowners who now choose to close their eyes and ears, and literally stick their heads in the sand,” advisor at Bellona Foundation, Sigurd Enge, said.