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  • 2016 October 6 18:07

    NGO criticises Maersk for lobby of beaching in India

    When Maersk decided earlier this year to sell two end-of-life ships to beaching yards in Alang, India, a broad coalition of European environmental and human rights NGOs denounced the move. It is expected that Maersk has to scrap at least 20 ships in the near future in addition to the recently announced selling of a large number of supply vessels from its oil and gas subsidiaries, NGO said in its press release.

    “Environmental and human rights experts have criticised Maersk for taking this U-turn on its earlier progressive ship recycling policy for the sake of extra profits to be made at the beaching yards. The shipping line is no longer a ‘guiding star’ for the maritime industry as it has now become one of the strongest lobbyists for the low-cost method of beaching” said Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

    “Maersk continues to ignore the many grave shortcomings of the beaching method, including its inability to ensure containment of pollutants in the intertidal zone and to guarantee the highest level of occupational safety,” Patrizia Heidegger said. “Maersk has failed to give satisfactory answers to the long list of critical questions we have raised regarding their new ship recycling standard and the way the Wyoming and Georgia are being broken,” she added.

    The damaging environmental impacts of breaking ships in the intertidal zone of a beach are well known: slag, toxic paint particles and debris including metal scrap and plastics are released into the environment when the ship is torched. Large metal pieces are simply dropped onto the sand or into the sea. Alarming levels of air, water and soil contamination at beaching yards have clearly been documented. Moreover, shipbreaking is a heavy industry with a high risk of accidents. The lack of a proper hospital in Alang has, however, not stopped Maersk from selling their ships to Shree Ram.

    For the sake of the extra profits made by selling their ships to yards that have not invested in proper infrastructure, Maersk is now actively promoting the beaching method – a method that is banned in Europe, the US and China. Until recently, Maersk itself loudly denounced the beaching method for its poor standards and lack of innovation, now it threatens to flag out from the Danish registry if the EU does not give in and accept beaching yards, a move that has been strongly criticised by the Clean Shipping Coalition.




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