Brussels, 13 June 2013 – The NGO Shipbreaking Platform today launches a data-driven website which lists all the ships that have been sent for breaking on the beaches of South Asia since 2009. On the website, more than 1, 000 shipping companies that commercially benefited from selling their ships for breaking in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan are listed. It is well documented that shipbreaking on the South Asian beaches causes labour rights violations and severe environmental degradation.
The www.offthebeach.org website is the backbone of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s OFF THE BEACH ! campaign, which aims to raise awareness on harmful shipbreaking practices and to promote clean and safe ship recycling. The campaign is not only targeted at the shipowners‘ community, but also at consumers and cargo owners by enabling them to choose responsible shipowners to carry their goods around the world.
The database documents more than 2, 600 ships that were scrapped in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan since 15 May 2009, the date when the International Maritime Organization’s Hong Kong Convention was adopted by the international community. It is obvious that the Hong Kong Convention does nothing to prevent the dangerous beaching practices widely used today, nor does it have the aim to prevent such practices in the future. In fact, more ships have been beached annually since Hong Kong was adopted. The OFF THE BEACH ! database includes information on the shipping companies that sold these vessels to substandard shipbreaking facilities, including an overview of their operational fleet (more than 14, 000 ships), so that cargo owners can make an informed decision on who they choose to do business with.
Some of the shipping companies listed for having sent ships to substandard facilities since 2009 have meanwhile changed their recycling policies. These success stories are featured in the blog section of the website, where the Platform will also showcase disappointing setbacks.
“Despite the rhetoric to the contrary, the vast majority of shipping companies continue to dump their old toxic ships on the beaches and labourers in South Asia, a practice which would, for instance, never be allowed in Europe, the US, Japan or China where most shipowners are based“, says Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “Today, we witness the launch of the first-ever transparent web application where information on shipping companies breaking practices dating back four years can be accessed, and used as a basis for making responsible choices. We call not only on ship owners, but also on all companies that use shipping to carry their goods and on the banking sector which invests in these companies to integrate safe and clean ship recycling in their corporate social responsibility plans.”
The NGO shipbreaking platform is a global coalition of 18 environmental, human rights and labour rights organisations promoting safe and clean ship recycling.