Brussels, 19 September 2016 – The NGO Shipbreaking Platform welcomes onboard Legambiente, its first-ever Italian member organization.
Legambiente is a non-profit association created in 1980 for the safeguard of the environment and for the promotion of sustainable lifestyles, production systems and use of resources. It is the most widespread environmental organization in Italy with over 115.000 members and over 2 million people involved in volunteer activities and campaigns. Legambiente’s strength is based on the work of 1.500 local groups and coordinated through 20 regional committees and a national headquarter in Rome.
“We strongly believe that our commitment to protect the marine environment perfectly fits with the aim of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform with whom we share the same objectives”, said Sebastiano Venneri, Marine Conservation Officer of Legambiente. “Ship owners have a particular responsibility to make sure that their ships are dismantled in a sustainable way. Nevertheless, Italian-owned commercial vessels keep being broken on South Asian beaches, polluting the environment and putting at risk workers’ safety. It is our goal to stop the shameful practice of beaching and to advocate for truly safe and environmentally sound ship recycling, involving citizens and the industry sector in Italy”.
The demolition of ships is a hazardous endeavor that requires adequate measures to protect the maritime environment, to ensure environmentally safe and sound management of hazardous waste, and to guarantee high health and safety standards for workers. Yet only a fraction of decommissioned ships is handled in a safe and sustainable manner. More than 70% of the end-of-life ships sold for dismantling today end up in South Asia, the region that has served as the main destination for obsolete tonnage in the last decades. The end-of-life vessels are run up on the tidal shores of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, where they are dismantled mainly manually by a migrant work force. The beaching method is at the source of coastal pollution and dangerous working conditions, while modern ship recycling facilities remain unused for the sole purpose of maximizing profits for the shipping industry. In the last seven years, around 90 Italian-owned ships have been dismantled on South Asian beaches. The export of end-of-life vessels from Europe to developing countries is illegal under European environmental law.
“The Platform is excited to join hands with Legambiente and to raise concerns related to unsustainable shipbreaking practices in Italy together. Dirty and dangerous shipbreaking has not yet received the necessary attention in Italy, and Italian ship owners are yet to pledge and implement clean and safe ship recycling policies“, said Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.
 All member and partner organisations of the Platform are listed here.