Brussels, 12 January 2016 – Since December 2014, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform has been exchanging with the Clipper Group, inviting the company’s management to embrace sustainable solutions for its end-of-life fleet. The company had been in the spotlight of media attention in Denmark for the controversial scrapping operation of the vessel Clipper Concord in India. The beaching yard chosen by Clipper operates under standards which are unacceptable in the European Union including the primary cutting in the intertidal zone where broken blocks fall into the sea and onto the beach. The Indian law also allows for the re-sale of asbestos-containing materials on the local market and the proper destruction of PCB-containing material is impossible. Moreover, the yard chosen does not offer proper accommodation to the migrant workers coming to the shipbreaking zone Alang. The NGO Shipbreaking Platform has shared this concerns with Clipper at the time.
Clipper has now adopted a new ship recycling policy for clean and safe dismantling. The policy does not outrule the use of beaching yards in India if certain conditions are met and Clipper is convinced that the demolition of the vessel Clipper Concord in 2014 was in line with this policy. Still, Clipper committed to close inspection of all yards to be used for the recycling of its fully owned vessels, since, so their argumentation, the beaching method calls for special attention to safeguard the environment and the safety of the workers.
The Platform welcomes the fact that the Clipper Group has adopted a policy with clear requirements for the facilities and the commitment to continued involvement of Clipper during the recycling process. Remarkably, the policy reflects requirements under the European Ship Recycling Regulation such as full containment of all pollutants (“control any leakage”) and operations on impermeable floor (“handle any hazardous material on impermeable floors with effective drainage systems”). The Platform expects that Clipper will revise the policy once the European Commission will have published the EU List of approved ship recycling facilities and that Clipper will commit to European standards. The EU List will not only provide ship owners with sustainable recycling destinations, but also alleviate shipping companies from having to monitor the entire dismantling process as this will be under the responsibility of the European Commission. Inter alia, EU listed facilities will need to ensure decent working conditions in line with international standards and treat all wastes downstream in accordance with EU standards.