Maersk: Ship Recycling Policy Not Changed with Alang Move

Danish shipping giant Maersk Group has not lowered its standard or changed its responsible ship recycling policy after the engagement in Alang, India, the company said responding to reports that beaching is “undermining its credibility as a responsible ship operator.”

“The development in recent years in Alang have seen a number of certified yards capable of recycling to our standards. In our view, it is essential to support this development – and we do that most effectively by bringing our ships to be recycled responsibly in Alang,” Maersk Group, Head of Group Sustainability Annette Stube, told World Maritime News.

She added that the company considers the engagement in Alang as “an opportunity to change the industry for the better.”

Namely, Maersk earlier announced its plans to create more responsible recycling options in Alang. The company said it would help the ship recycling yard to upgrade facilities and practices to comply with the company’s standards.

“The aim of the EU legislation should be to raise the standards where the vast majority of the world fleet is recycled. This is by no means accomplished by the suggested legislation as it fails to support the development and improvement we have witnessed in Alang. We strongly encourage the EU Commission to reconsider its position as an unfortunate consequence of the suggested legislation is the exclusion of the yards where more than 70% of the world’s fleet is recycled,” Stube said.

After the company said it would scrap more vessels in the coming years due to an oversupply and low freight rates in the container market, its plan to avoid European environmental law on ship recycling by flagging ships to non-EU flags was criticized by the environmental organisation Clean Shipping Coalition (CSC).

“Maersk is a European company and should abide by European laws. Suggesting that it might use a flag of convenience to escape EU ship breaking rules designed to protect the environment and worker safety is scandalous, and will seriously undermine its credibility as a responsible ship owner and operator,” John Maggs, senior policy advisor at Seas At Risk and president of the Clean Shipping Coalition, said.

In mid-May, Maersk sent two of its container ships, the Maersk Wyoming and the Maersk Georgia, to India’s Shree Ram yard in Alang for recycling. The vessels have arrived in Alang and are being beached and dismantled now.

NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s Executive Director, Patrizia Heidegger in an interview told World Maritime News that “Maersk’s big mistake apart from stalling the beaching method, which they would never be allowed to use in Denmark, anywhere else in Europe, China or Japan, is that they have sold end-of-life vessels to a yard in Alang before they are able to implement improvements. We fully disapprove of an approach based on ‘trial and error’.”

The company said that it reached a deal for the landing of the first two vessels at the yard, which is certified to the standards of the Hong Kong Convention.

Maersk estimated that it could earn an additional USD 1-2 million per ship by using beaching yards in Alang, India.

World Maritime News Staff

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