The NGO Shipbreaking Platform today has released a new data of ships dismantled worldwide in 2017. According to the Platform, 835 large ocean-going commercial vessels were sold to the scrap yards in 2017. 543 were broken down by hand on the tidal beaches of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan: amounting to 80,3% of all tonnage dismantled globally.
Founder and Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, Ingvild Jenssen said, “The figures of 2017 are a sad testimony of the shipping industry’s unwillingness to act responsibly. 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.”
The negative consequences of shipbreaking are real and felt by many. On the one hand, most of them lose their life, suffer from injuries caused by fires, falling steel plates and the general unsafe working conditions, as well as from occupational diseases due to exposure to toxic fumes and materials. While on the other hand, coastal ecosystems, and the local communities depending on them, are devastated by toxic spills and various pollutants leaking into the environment as a result of breaking vessels on beaches.
As in 2016, Germany and Greece top the list of country dumpers in 2017. German owners, including banks and ship funds, beached 50 vessels out of a total of 53 sold for demolition. The worst corporate dumper prize goes to Continental Investment Holdings (CIH), the Singapore-headquartered shipowning arm of Myanmar shipowner Captain U Ko Ko Htoo and parent company of Continental Shipping Line. 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 respectively 6 and 5 ships sold to South Asian yards. Zodiac received the worst dumper award in 2016 and sold 4 vessels to the yards in Chittagong despite being under scrutiny after a Bangladeshi worker sought compensation from the company for injuries incurred when breaking the Eurus London.
Other known companies that in 2017 opted for substandard yards, rather than recycling their ships in a safe and clean manner, include: Hanjin Shipping, Hansa Mare Reederei, Peter Dohle Schiffahrts, Rickmers Reederei, Hansa Treuhand, Berge Bulk, Costamare, Quantum Pacific Group and Teekay.