Danish Owners Reassert Shipbreaking Stance


Published Aug 24, 2015 7:42 PM by The Maritime Executive

Following on from the news last week that the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association has stated its opposition to shipbreaking on beaches, the Danish Shipowners’ Association has restated its, contrary, position.

The organization has released a statement saying that ratification and compliance with the Hong Kong Convention is the best way to ensure sustainable recycling of vessels according to the Danish Shipowners’ Association, both in terms of safety and environmental impact.

There is an ongoing debate of whether beaching in South Asia should be banned. The debate often flares up as 60 percent of the world’s vessels are dismantled on the beaches of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, and these area in particular have been notorious for poor safety and environment conditions. 

In addition the requirements for the E.U. white list of yards based on the E.U. Ship Recycling Regulation risk becoming an a priori exclusion of South Asian yards.
But Alang is not just Alang, writes Director of the Danish Shipowners’ Association, Maria Bruun Skipper, in an article from Spring 2015, following a visit to Alang, India. The point is that we all have a responsibility to ensure that the recycling is done without compromising neither the health and safety of the workers nor the environment:
“A couple of the yards we visited have invested in technology and established safety procedures to ensure that ships are recycled safely and that the environment is protected against leakage of harmful substances. It is up to the classification societies to certify that the standards are met, but in my view it would be extremely counterproductive if the yards, which have made important investments, are excluded based on geography and the concept of beaching as a method. The DSA does not by any means accept poor standards, but we strongly recommend individual assessment of each yard. This is also what we advise our members to do. Unacceptable ship recycling can take place anywhere in the world”, says Skipper.
“The U.N.’s maritime organization, IMO, has adopted the Hong Kong Convention which sets requirements for safe and environmentally sound recycling. Despite the fact that Denmark has yet to ratify the Convention, we do however recommend our members to follow the IMO standards and are fully in line with e.g. our Norwegian colleagues as regards the Convention’s primacy. Norway is one of the few countries who have actually ratified the Convention”, adds Skipper.
 The Danish position is fully in line with the European position where the European maritime organization, ECSA is working on the global ratification of the Hong Kong Convention, she states.