Evergreen hits back at NGO report on shipbreaking practices

Taiwanese shipping line Evergreen has responded to a news report on the NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s recently published list of ships dismantled worldwide in 2019. Shipbreaking Platform highlighted Evergreen for its shipbreaking practices.

Evergreen Line said that its ship demolition and recycling policy required the shipbreaking yard selected by all buyers of its decommissioned vessels to be ISO certified (ISO 9000, 14001, 18001 or 30000) and to implement class-approved standards of the 2009 Hong Kong Convention (HKC).

“Despite the Convention as yet not being officially in force, Evergreen insists on the adoption of such stringent standards in order to ensure the decommissioned vessels being scrapped in a safe and eco-friendly manner”, the company said.

Evergreen also pointed out that it had recently strengthened its contracts by adding a liquidated damage clause into the memorandum of agreement, which makes it carry heavier weight and deterrent effect for any buyer who is non-compliant. Evergreen said that, should it be found that recycling of any of the company’s vessels did not fully comply with the stated standards, Evergreen would “take all necessary actions to safeguard its values of its green recycling policy”.

It highlighted as an example the scrapping of the Ever Unison. Evergreen said that it was currently planning to launch arbitration proceedings against the buyer for breaching the obligation, under the terms of the MOA, to scrap at a HKC green shipyard. Evergreen said that it was also considering to seek an injunction from the High Court to prevent the vessel being demolished at its current location.

There were 674 ocean-going ships and offshore vessels dismantled worldwide in 2019, with the vast majority of these being broken up in Bangladesh, Indian, and Pakistan.

Of those 674 ocean-going commercial ships and offshore units sold for scrap last year, 469 large tankers, bulkers, floating platforms, cargo and passenger ships were broken down on just three beaches in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, amounting to nearly 90% of the gross tonnage dismantled globally, the NGO said.

Shipbreaking Platform counted 26 deaths and 34 severe injuries among workers at the world’s shipbreaking yards last year, with Bangladesh having a particularly bad year accounting for 24 of the worker deaths.

The group said that the UAE and Greece sent  45 and 40 ships respectively to South Asia beaches.

2019’s numbers were down slightly from the 744 large ocean-going commercial vessels sold to scrap yards in 2018, of which 518 were broken down on beaching yards in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan.

Last year marked the first year of the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, requiring EU-flagged vessels to be recycled in one of the currently 41 approved facilities around the world included in an EU list approved ship recycling facilities which have been independently audited and approved.