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Maersk to hire upgraded Indian shipbreakers despite eco-lobby objections



MAERSK, the world's biggest shipping company, has decided to continue to hire India's Alang shipbreaking beaches to scrap old ships, but in accordance with the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling.

"The Alang plans come at a cost for us," said Annette Stube, head of sustainability for the Maersk Group. "But we will invest money and human resources to ensure we can already now scrap our vessels in compliance with the Hong Kong Convention provisions."

"Maersk staff will be working closely with the yard to further upgrade practices, processes and facilities to ensure that the recycling of our vessels complies with our standards," she said.

To accelerate the upgrade of more yards in Alang, the Maersk Group said that it is working on building a broader collaboration with other shipowners to increase demand for responsible ship recycling and to find sustainable solutions.

A first step was said to be a dialogue with Japanese shipowners in collaboration with the Japanese shipowners association (JSA) in the coming months.

The Danish shipping giant said that its 4,658-TEU Maersk Wyoming and the 4,824-TEU Maersk Georgia are expected to be scrapped in Alang in late May at the Shree Ram yard, which has been certified as Hong Kong Convention compliant.

Maersk explained that the market for ship recycling is dominated by practices unchanged for decades. Out of a total of 768 ships recycled globally in 2015, 469 ?representing 74 per cent of the total gross tonnage scrapped - were sold to facilities on beaches in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Eco lobbies, such as Belgium's NGO Shipbreaking Platform and Transport and Environment, as well as the American Basel Action Network (BAN), say Indian shipbreakers must enjoy western working conditions before getting work from shipowners.

But Maersk Group plans to help selected Alang shipbreakers to upgrade facilities and practices to comply with its standards for scrapping old vessels, said a company statement.

Source: Press Release

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