79% of ships sold for scrap in Q1 ended up on South Asian beaches

Tuesday, 3 May 2016 00:03 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Out of 239 end-of-life ships sold for breaking in the first quarter of 2016 a total of 79% of ships ended up on South Asian beaches, according to the data collected and analysed by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

The figure makes this quarter one of the worst ones in the last years for non-beaching yards around the world, the Platform said.

Out of 189 vessels that reached the shores of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, 127 were bulk carriers.

As opposed to 2015 trends, India has again become the favourite final destination. The report shows that 68 ships sold to South Asia in the first quarter of 2016 were owned by EU owners, with Greek owners topping the list with 40 ships sold to South Asian breakers, followed by German owners with 16 ships.

Also Chinese, South Korean and Monaco owners rank high on the list – all selling several vessels to Bangladesh where conditions are known to be the worst when comparing all three South Asian shipbreaking countries. Monaco Zodiac Group, and Germans Konig & Cie GmbH & Company KG and Rickmers Reederei GmbH & Cie KG top the list of worst dumpers this quarter.

In the first four months of the year, the Platform has documented seven fatal accidents in the shipbreaking yards of Bangladesh – and at least four more workers have been seriously injured.

“The accident record of 2016 is again alarmingly high and illustrates the unacceptable working conditions in the shipbreaking yards,” the Platform said.

With regard to ship flags, whilst grey- and black listed flags, such as Comoros and St Kitts and Nevis, continued to be particularly popular for end-of-life ships, also ships registered under the flags of Cyprus and Malta ended up on the South Asian beaches.

Another practice that seems to be very popular is reflagging of ships before being sent to scrap. Namely, 35 ships, including two Greek flagged ships, one Belgian flagged ship and one Malta flagged ship, changed their flag just weeks before hitting the beach.

This is particularly important as new EU Regulation on ship recycling is expected to prohibit the dismantling of EU-flagged ships in substandard yards. However, by simply flagging out to a non-EU flag before selling the ship for scrap, ship owners can easily circumvent the EU laws, the Platform explains.