Ship owners excluded from GPFG funding because of their beaching practices

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Shipbreaking at Chittagong, Bangladesh (Foto: © Studio Fasching / NGO Shipbreaking Platform)

Brussels/Oslo — The Norwegian Central Bank has 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 1percent 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 Pakistan and Bangladesh. The companies have been excluded from the GPFG because the beaching of their ships cause severe environmental damage and serious human rights violations. The exclusions so far are limited to companies who have sent their end-of-life vessels to be beached in Bangladesh and Pakistan, yet the reports clearly state that “to date, the Council on Ethics has not examined the way ships are broken up in India”.

Indeed, as stated in their report: “One particular problem with beaching is that shipbreaking takes place when the vessels are standing in mud and sand. As a result, the pollution leaches into the ground and is washed out with the tides. Even if arrangements were put in place at the beaching sites for the treatment of asbestos and PCBs, for example, the fundamental problem of containing and collecting the pollution would be impossible to resolve”.

“This is the first time that shipping companies have been excluded from an investment fund based on their poor shipbreaking practices, and, coming from the largest investment fund in the world, it sends out a strong signal to all financial institutions to follow suit”, says Ingvild Jenssen, Founder and Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “We also strongly encourage the Council on Ethics to engage with the companies that sell their vessels for scrapping on the beach of Alang, India”.

Source: NGO Shipbreaking Platform