Ship breaking: 169 end-of-life ships still sold to South Asian beaches

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Ship dismantling by beaching in South Asia (Foto: NGO Shipbreaking Platform)

Brussels — There were a total of 220 ships broken in the second quarter of 2018. Of these, 169 ships were sold to the beaches of South Asia for dirty and dangerous breaking. 33 were broken in Turkey, 5 in China, 4 in Europe and 9 in the rest of the world.

In the second quarter of 2018, American ship owners sold the most ships to the South Asian yards with 26 vessels beached, followed by Greek and UAE owners. American company Tidewater was the worst corporate dumper with fifteen vessels beached. In the end of April, Pakistan re-opened the market to the import of tankers. In two months alone, twenty-two tankers reached the shores of Gadani to be scrapped. Industry sources report that devaluing freight rates have contributed to the demolition of over 100 tankers in the first half of 2018.

Only three ships had a European flag – Greece, Malta and Norway – when they were beached last quarter. All ships sold to the Chittagong, Alang and Gadani yards pass via the hands of scrap-dealers, also known as cash-buyers, that often re-register and re-flag the vessel on its final voyage.

Grey- and black-listed flags of convenience are particularly popular with cash-buyers, and more than half of the ships sold to South Asia this quarter changed flag to the registries of Comoros, Niue, Palau and St. Kitts and Nevis just weeks before hitting the beach. This is the highest number of flag changes recorded by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform and raises serious concerns with regards to the effectiveness of legislation based on flag state jurisdiction. These flags are not typically used during the operational life of ships and offer ‘last voyage registration’ discounts. They are grey- and black-listed due to their poor implementation of international maritime law.

Source: NGO Shipbreaking Platform