Ingvild Jenssen, Founder and Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, 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.”

Highlights for 2017

  • At least 10 workers lost their lives in Gadani, Pakistan
  • 15 died and 22 were seriously injured in Bangladeshi yards
  • Whilst NGOs were repeatedly denied access to the Indian shipbreaking yards, the Platform was informed of at least eight fatal accidents in Alang
  • Germany and Greece top the list of country dumpers in 2017, as in 2016. German owners, beached 50 vessels while Greek owners marked the highest absolute number of ships sold to South Asian yards in 2017: 51 ships in total.
  • 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: 18 ended up in Alang, Gadani and Chittagong.

According to the Platform, the worst dumper was Continental Investment Holdings (CIH), with 9 ships sold for breaking on the beaches in 2017, four of which ended up in Bangladesh. Ranked at second place, the container shipping giant MSC sold 7 vessels to Indian breakers. In the last nine years, MSC sold more than 70 ships in Alang, says the Platform. Japanese MOL and UK-based Zodiac Group follow closely with respectively 6 and 5 ships sold to South Asian yards.

Other known companies that in 2017 opted for substandard yards include Hanjin Shipping, Hansa Mare Reederei, Peter Dohle Schiffahrts, Rickmers Reederei, Hansa Treuhand, Berge Bulk, Costamare, Quantum Pacific Group and Teekay.

With the oil and gas sector seeing a downturn in the last couple of years, the Platform has documented also 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. Three floating platforms cold-stacked in Scotland that were sold by Diamond Offshore for scrap in 2017 were stopped from leaving following an alert by the Platform on their highly likely illegal export.

The negative consequences of dirty shipbreaking include, on the one hand, workers’ exploitation and unsafe working practices that often lead to serious injuries and even deaths, and on the other hand, devastating toxic spills and pollutants leaking into the environment.

“It is particularly shameful that so many European shipping companies scrap their vessels on beaches. Their obvious lack of interest to ensure that shipbreaking workers around the world enjoy best available technologies, and that the environment is equally protected everywhere, clearly calls for additional pressure from authorities, shipping clients and financers”, Ms. Jenssen adds.