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NYK Becomes First Japanese Company to Join Ship Recycling Initative

NYK first Japanese shipping company recycling transparency
(file photo)

Published May 13, 2021 6:04 PM by The Maritime Executive

NYK recently announced that it was joining the Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative (SRTI), making it the first Japanese shipping company to join the independent effort design to promote transparency and improve the shipping industry’s recycling policies and practices. According to SRTI, NYK also became the twelfth shipowner to disclose its approach to recycling vessels, bringing the total number of signatories committing to the principles to 28 organizations.

The Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative is an independent effort hosted by the Sustainable Shipping Initiative. It is a collective effort that brings together the shipping industry, investors, cargo owners, and broader stakeholders to improve ship recycling policy, practice, and performance. The SRTI follows a voluntary market-driven approach to sustainable ship recycling practices, promoting information sharing on ship recycling practices and guidelines, and helps ensure greater transparency in the maritime sector.

“The NYK Group places environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors at the center of its business management. Through the SRTI, NYK can provide transparency in ship recycling, which we believe we can bring about improvements and influence needed,” said Hitoshi Nagasawa, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYK Line. “We are committed to promoting and contributing to raising standards of safety and sustainability.”

The practices of the shipping industry have come under increasing pressure based on numerous reports regarding conditions in the shipbreaking industry, which is mostly based in third-world countries. Ships contain large amounts of high-quality metals, which many of these countries sorely need. However, there has been a high level of attention on industrial accidents and environmental pollution when ships are dismantled.

NYK notes that as early as 2008, the company established its ship-recycling policy, which has been further updated to incorporate elements of the 2009 Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. The policy includes a requirement to conduct an inventory of hazardous materials which is to be presented to the yard when the ship is delivered for scrapping.  The policy also calls for NYK to visit the yards, work with yards that have been issued a Statement of Compliance, and periodically certify that the yards are maintaining the level of occupational and environmental safety. 

By participating in the SRTI effort NYK says it will further promote transparency of the ship-recycling process so that stakeholders can be assured that NYK-owned vessels are being safely and properly recycled. At the same time, NYK will promote responsible ship recycling within the global shipping industry.

Further, NYK notes in its policy that to help ship recycling yards in India comply with the Hong Kong convention as soon as possible, Japan Marine Science, a member of the NYK Group, has provided consulting services to 70 ship recycling yards in India. The consulting has included civil engineering work for renovation, selection of equipment, such as waste incinerators and hazardous material treatment equipment, assistance in bidding, and assistance in construction management in the "Preparatory Survey on the Ship Recycling Yard Improvement Project in India" conducted by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The practices of the Asian scrapyard including those in India have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years. Starting in 2019, the EU began requiring all EU-flagged ships over 500 GT to be scrapped in approved recycling facilities, but the EU has yet to approve any facilities in South Asia. Recently it was reported, that Danish authorities are investigating the demolition sales of four former Maersk-operated vessels that ended up at Indian scrapyards.

“We are glad to welcome NYK to the SRTI community and are encouraged to see momentum continue to build behind the importance of transparency and accountability on sustainability challenges such as ship recycling,” says Andrew Stephens, Executive Director of the Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative. “Shipowners like NYK are holding themselves to account before key stakeholders, making ship recycling data available for interested parties to review, scrutinize, and use to make informed decisions.”