Trade unions in Bangladesh and NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s member are questioning the Statement of Compliance with the Hong Kong Convention issued to PHP Family shipbreaking yard in October.
According to NGO Shipbreaking Platform, the unions are concerned that such a labelling “sets a dangerous precedent for the further green-washing of the Chittagong beaching yards.”
The PHP Family (Peace Happiness and Prosperity) shipbreaking yard, which received the Statement of Compliance from the Italian classification society RINA, has allegedly rejected the workers’ right to freedom of association, and employees that have strongly engaged in demanding respect of workers’ rights have even been fired.
Additionally, the Platform informed that accidents at the PHP shipbreaking yard continue to happen.
“It is shocking that a company that rejects legitimate trade union activities can be stamped as operating in line with international laws. The Hong Kong Convention clearly fails in setting standards that will protect workers,” Nazim Uddin, local trade union leader and Bangladesh representative at IndustriALL, said.
Despite some investments in the PHP yard to concrete parts of the upper beach, there are still deficiencies in infrastructure for the containment of toxics. When vessels are cut in the intertidal zone, toxics are inevitably released in the sea.
The Platform said that the Statements of Compliance with the Hong Kong Convention “are clearly no guarantee that the environment and workers are protected from the many risks connected to the heavy and hazardous industry of ship recycling.”
Ingvild Jenssen, Director and Founder of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, concluded that any ship owner looking for a safe and clean location for the recycling of their ship “will be wise to disregard the very misleading Statements of Compliance with the Hong Kong Convention, and instead consult the upcoming EU List of approved ship recycling facilities.”