Shipbreaking dangers for South Asia
20 January 2012Ships sent from Europe to be broken up on South Asian beaches continue to pose a human rights and environmental threat, according to the Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition of human rights, labour rights and environmental organisations. The Platform reports that European companies continue to dump end-of-life ships in South Asia, despite the European Waste Shipment Regulation, which prohibits European Union member states from exporting hazardous wastes.
The organisation says that breaking yards on the beaches of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan do not enforce environmental and labour laws, "exposing some of the poorest communities to extremely dangerous working conditions and severe pollution".
In 2011, more than 200 ships were sent from Europe to be broken up in South Asia, with the top countries being Greece (100 ships), Norway (24), UK (13), Netherlands (12) and Germany (11).
Shipbreaking Platform also exposes the involvement of ships registered under flags of convenience (FOC) in this trade, accounting for almost two-thirds of flags. The top seven were: Panama (55 times),
Liberia (33), Bahamas and St Kitts-Nevis (12 times each), Comoros (11 times) and Marshall Islands and St Vincent and Grenadines (seven times each).
Shipbreaking Platform is calling on the European Commission to take action to address this issue, and works in coalition with organisations based in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan to campaign for a European policy to end the dumping of toxic waste from European ships in developing countries.