Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Companies named and shamed for sending ships to ‘dire’ beaching yards

© Shutterstock / aksenovdenShip breaking yards, Chittagong, Bangladesh
Ship breaking yards, Chittagong, Bangladesh

Saipem and BW Offshore are among a host of companies that have been shamed for sending their vessels to the “infamous shipbreaking beaches of South Asia”.

Research carried out by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform found that 763 ocean-going commercial ships and floating offshore units were sold to the scrap yards in 2021.

Of those, 583 of the largest tankers, bulkers, floating platforms, cargo and passenger ships ended up on the beaches of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

There workers – “often-exploited migrants” or children – dismantle the vessels while being exposed to “immense risks”, the Brussels-based organisation said.

Numerous workers are killed each year by fires and falling steel plates, while many more are exposed to toxic fumes and other substances found within ships.

© Supplied by NGO Shipbreaking Pla
The North Sea Producer on Chittagong Beach

Ingvild Jenssen, executive director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, said: “We have been witnessing this environmental and human rights scandal for too long. All ship owners are aware of the dire situation at the beaching yards and the lack of capacity to safely handle the many toxic materials onboard vessels. Yet, with the help of scrap dealers, the vast majority choose to scrap their end-of-life fleet in South Asia as that is where they can make the highest profits.”

A dangerous game

According to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, at least 14 workers lost their lives last year when breaking apart vessels on the beach of Chattogram, Bangladesh – another 34 were severely injured.

Local sources also reported two deaths in Alang, India, and two deaths in Gadani, Pakistan.

The country responsible for dumping the most ships in 2021 was the United Arab Emirates, which sold 60 ships for scrapping in South Asia.

Transocean Beacon Shenandoah

 

Norwegian FPSO specialist BW Offshore was named among “other well-known companies that dumped their toxic ships” on beaches in 2021.

The company was contacted for comment.

Project officer at the NGO Shipbreaking Platform Sara Costa said: “The sector suffers from a serious lack of transparency, and it is expected that several accidents go unreported.

“Many more workers suffer from cancers and other occupational diseases, due to the long-term exposure to hazardous substances, including asbestos.

“We have launched a fundraising campaign to help the victims of unregulated shipbreaking in collaboration with new local partners in Bangladesh, and urge people or companies to support us so that proper medical treatment can be provided.”

Cash buyers

Environmental and labour laws that ship owners have to adhere to when disposing of vessles are in place, particularly in the European Union.

But the NGO Shipbreaking Platform says they are “ignored and easily circumvented”.

One process whereby owners can dodge regulations is with the aid of scrap dealers, known as cash buyers.

They purchase ageing ships and “typically re-name, re-register and re-flag” them on their last voyage to the beaching yads.

Almost half of the ships sold to South Asia in 2021 changed flag to one of the black-listed flags of Comoros, Palau and St Kitts & Nevis just weeks before hitting the beach, the NGO said.

The latest data shows that at least seventeen of these flag changes enabled ship owners to circumvent the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, including two units owned by Italian energy contractor Saipem, which was contacted for comment.

Drillship on sea under cloudy sky © Supplied by Saipem
The Saipem 12000 drillship, offshore Kenya

Ms Jenssen said: “The EU recently reaffirmed in its proposal for a new regulation on waste shipments that shipbreaking is a question of environmental justice.

“Yet, the infamous shipbreaking beaches of South Asia remain the preferred scrapping destination for many well-known European shipping companies. At least 1/3 of the tonnage scrapped in South Asia is European.

“The decisions to scrap these ships under conditions that would not be allowed in the EU are taken in offices in Hamburg, Athens, Antwerp, Copenhagen and other EU shipping hubs. This reality begs for the introduction and enforcement of measures that effectively hold the real beneficial owners of the vessels responsible, regardless of the flags used and/or of the ports of departure.”

Recommended for you

More from Energy Voice

Latest Posts