Norwegian Central Bank excludes Evergreen Marine, Precious Shipping, Korea Line and Thorensen Thai Agencies from the Government Pension Fund Global
The Norwegian Central Bank announced its decision to exclude ship owners Evergreen Marine Corporation, Precious Shipping, Korea Line Corporation and Thorensen Thai Agencies from the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG). The exclusion is based on the companies’ poor management of their end-of-life ships and the sale of these for dirty and dangerous shipbreaking on the beaches of Gadani, Pakistan and Chittagong, Bangladesh.
The Norwegian Council on Ethics directs the Norwegian Central Bank, which manages the Government Pension Fund Global, on which companies should be excluded from investments in the fund, based on human rights and humanitarian violations, corruption and environmental degradation records. The GPFG is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world, owning 1% of all investments worldwide, and the recommendations of the Council on Ethics weigh on other investors as indications of good financing.
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform has documented that in the last three years, 20 ships were sold by Evergreen, Korea Line, Precious Shipping and Thoresen Thai Agencies to beaching facilities in South Asia. The companies have been excluded from the GPFG because the beaching of their vessels cause severe environmental damage and serious human rights violations.
Whilst the exclusions so far are limited to companies that have sold their end-of-life vessels to be beached in Bangladesh and Pakistan, the reports clearly state that “to date, the Council on Ethics has not examined the way ships are broken up in India.
According to the Council on Ethics, selling a vessel to a beaching yard “is a consequence of an active choice on the part of the company that owned the vessel to maximise its profit. In the Council’s opinion, that company must shoulder an independent responsibility for doing so. There are better ways of dismantling ships that are readily available to the shipowner, but these are more expensive”.
Bearing in mind that Taiwan used to be the destination for breaking ships before the boom of the industry in South Asia, it is particularly damning for Evergreen – a Taiwanese company – not to remember the legacy that the industry left in its country following the explosion in the port of Kaohsiung in 1988.