Greek and German shipowners once again topped the list of countries which sent the most end-of-life ships to South Asian beaching yards in 2017, data provided by NGO Shipbreaking Platform shows.
Out of a total of 835 ships which were dismantled globally during the year, 80.3% or 543 large ocean-going commercial vessels reached the tidal beaches of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.
Greek owners were responsible for the highest absolute number of ships sold to South Asian shipbreaking yards in 2017 with 51 ships in total, while German owners, including banks and ship funds, beached 50 vessels out of a total of 53 sold for demolition.
Despite increased pressure for safe and clean ship recycling from Norwegian investors and authorities, in 2017 the number of Norwegian-owned ships scrapped on the beach was on the rise as 18 end-of-life vessels ended up in Alang, Gadani and Chittagong.
“The reality is that yards with infrastructure fit for the heavy and hazardous industry that ship recycling is, and that can ensure safe working conditions and containment of pollutants, are not being used by ship owners,” Ingvild Jenssen, Founder and Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, said.
In 2017, at least 10 workers lost their lives at the shipbreaking yards on the beach of Gadani. The Platform documented 15 deaths in the Bangladeshi yards last year, where also at least another 22 workers were seriously injured.
While international and local NGOs were repeatedly denied access to the Indian shipbreaking yards, the Platform was informed of at least eight fatal accidents in Alang in 2017.
The worst corporate dumper was Singapore-based shipowner Continental Investment Holdings (CIH), which sold 9 ships for breaking on the beaches in 2017. Ranked at second place, the container shipping giant Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) sold 7 vessels to Indian breakers.
The Japanese owner Mitsui OSK Lines and the UK-based Zodiac Group follow closely with 6 and 5 ships sold to South Asian yards, respectively.
With the oil and gas sector seeing a downturn in the last couple of years, the Platform has documented an increase in offshore units that have gone for scrap. Out of the 91 units which have been identified as demolished in the last three years combined, 41 of them ended up on the beaches of South Asia after being towed for thousands of kilometers across the globe.
Image Courtesy: NGO Shipbreaking Platform