up to the top spot in the global ship breaking numbers registering 74-odd ships
dismantled during April-June 2017, says NGO Shipbreaking Platform on 12th July.
There were a total of 210 ships broken in the second quarter of 2017. As many
as 158 of these ships ended up on South Asian beaches for dirty and dangerous
breaking. The Platform was able to document five accidents at the shipbreaking
yards in Chittagong, Bangladesh, between April and June, which led to the death
of four workers and the injury of two.
as a winch operator and died struck by a cable at the BBC Steel Shipbreaking/KR
yard. This is the second fatal accident this year at BBC Steel. Zishan died in
an accident at the Ratanpur Steel Re-Rolling mills where iron plates from the
ships are transformed for the construction industry. In Jamuna Shipbreaking
yard, it was reported about the death of Shahinoor who fell from the
Hanjin Rome, the first ship arrested after the bankruptcy of the Korean
container giant Hanjin Shipping.
ship was sold on auction by the Singaporean courts following the bankruptcy of
Hanjin Shipping and should be a harrowing wake-up call to courts and bankruptcy
administrators that there are human consequences of selling ships for the
highest return price to the beaches. During a nightshift on 21 May, Shochindro
Das died when he was hit by an iron pipe. He was working as a cutter helper in
the Khawja yard, which shares owner with Kabir Steel.
during night shift without protective equipment are particularly graving
circumstances that sadly witness of the extremely harsh conditions workers face
at the shipbreaking yards in Chittagong. Local sources are claiming that
Shochindro Das was only 15 years old, whilst the officially reported age was
26. The Platform will investigate these serious allegations. Child labour at
the Bangladesh shipbreaking yards is illegal under Bangladesh law and also
under the ILOís Convention on Worst Forms of Child Labour.
dumping country this quarter was Germany with 16 beached ships, a consequence
of the multiple bankruptcies due to the toxic financing that has been
characteristic of the German shipping industry. In June, German public
television channel ARD documented the appalling conditions under which
German ships are broken in Bangladesh. The other leading dumping nations
were Singapore with 12 ships, Greece with 9, and South Korea with 8. Though 45
out of the 158 beached vessels this quarter were European-controlled, only four
of these had a European flag.
at the international and European level to regulate the disposal of ships is
based on flag state jurisdiction.
The flags of
the worst dumping countries were however rarely or not used at end-of-life.
Flags of convenience, in particular the grey- and black-listed ones under the
Paris MOU, are used by cash buyers and ship owners to send ships to the worst
breaking locations. Nearly a third (49) of all the ships sent to South Asia
this quarter changed flag to typical end-of-life registries only weeks before
hitting the beaches: St Kitts & Nevis, Comoros, Palau, Djibouti, Niue and
Togo. These flags are not typically used during the operational life of ships
and offer Ďlast voyage registrationí discounts. They are grey and black-listed
due to their poor implementation of international maritime law.
five cases where the ships in question were sent to South Asia in breach of the
EU Waste Shipment Regulation . In Bangladesh, the Platform was successful in
taking legal action to halt the breaking of the FPSO North Sea Producer which
was illegally exported from the UK in 2016. The Platform also alerted this
quarter the Brazilian government of several vessels exported to the
beaching yards from Brazil in clear breach of UNEPís Basel Convention.
company was the Singaporean Continental Shipping Line that had six
Liberian-flagged vessels that all changed flag to St Kitts & Nevis or
Comoros and were beached in South Asia. Quantum Pacific is a close runner-up on
second place for worst dumping practices, with four ships sold to Pakistan and
Bangladesh. Quantum, owned by Idan Ofer, son of the late shipping mogul Sammy
Ofer, has been under the Platformís radar before as the worst dumper of
2015. The worst dumper of 2016 was UK-based Zodiac Maritime, run by
Idanís brother, Eyal Ofer. The figures of this quarter not only show how
legislation based on flag state jurisdiction will fail in changing the
deplorable shipbreaking practices of the shipping industry, they also show that
companies such as Quantum and Zodiac have no shame in continuing to exploit
vulnerable workers in South Asia for the sake of extra profits.