A total of 142 ships, from the 181 ships broken in the first quarter of 2019, were sold to the beaches of South Asia, according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
During the three-month period, US, Saudi Arabian and Singaporean ship owners sold the most ships to South Asian yards, followed by Greek and South Korean owners.
More than half of the ships sold to South Asia this quarter changed flag to the registries of Comoros, Niue, Palau and St. Kitts and Nevis just weeks before hitting the beach.
Between January and March, three workers have lost their lives and four were severely injured when breaking ships in Bangladesh.
According to local sources, a worker lost his life in late January while working at S. S. Green Ship Breaking yard, located on the beach of Chittagong, Bangladesh. Two more workers dies when a fire broke out in the engine room on board the tanker S WARRIOR at Shagorika Ship Breaking Yard in mid-February.
No severe accidents were reported in India and Pakistan. Whilst information on accidents in Alang remain difficult to obtain due to lack of access and transparency, a significant decrease in scrapping activities has contributed to a quarter with no recorded accidents in Gadani, NGO Shipbreaking Platform explained. In the last six months, 70% of the workers are said to have lost their job.
The EU Ship Recycling Regulation became applicable on January 1, 2019. According to the Regulation, EU-flagged vessels have to be recycled in approved facilities included in the EU list. At least five ships were scrapped in accordance with the new requirements.
However, the platform recorded at least seven ships that swapped their European flag to that of a non-EU registry prior the last voyage to the shipbreaking yard in order to circumvent the legislation.
NGO Shipbreaking Platform said that the shipping industry claims that it is forced to re-flag as there is not enough capacity on the EU list. A report published in September last year by the platform and Transport & Environment, however, showed that there was more than enough capacity, both in terms of tonnage and size, to cater for the EU flagged end-of-life fleet. Since then, two Turkish yards, a yard in the US and more European yards have been added to the list.
This week the European Commission also announced that it intends to add a further eight yards operating in Denmark, Norway and Turkey to the list.