‘On Paper’ Regulations
‘On paper’ there are EU regulations, there is the Hong Kong Convention, and the Basel Convention. They all intend to regulate ship breaking to prevent human rights abuses, labour welfare, safety and environmental concerns. Unfortunately, even some of Europe’s most respected shipping brands scrap their vessels on the beaches of South Asia. This is the norm for the industry.
The problem is that there are too many conflicts of interest in the shipping industry. The latest convention, the Hong Kong Convention, ended up being a convention that has been condemned by NGO’s, the UN, European lawmakers and hundreds of other interested organisations as a document that permits the current environmentally damaging, unsafe and human rights abusing practices to continue.
Classification Societies and Flag States of Convenance, who want to attract ships into their portfolios to generate income, are also complicit in allowing vessels to be beached and recycled on the beaches of South Asia.
Ship owners can sell the vessel to dubious ‘Cash Buyers’ for up to double the price that they would receive if the vessels were recycled in purpose built ship dismantling yards that are certified as meeting Europe acceptable standards.
Ships owners claim they don’t know where these cash buyers break the ships. This is misleading at best. They know where they are going based on, the price they receive. They also know these limited number of ‘Cash Buyers’ don’t deal with good practice ship breaking yards.