Brussels, 8 September 2015 – Environmental, human and labour rights organisations denounce Polish government-owned shipping company Polsteam for its poor shipbreaking practices and call upon Polsteam to take the necessary action concerning its ship recycling practices as a matter of urgency. The NGO Shipbreaking Platform and the European Environmental Bureau, and the more than 160 environmental, human and labour rights organisations they represent, together with Polish NGOs Fundacja Instytut na rzecz Ekorozwoju and Towarzystwo na Rzecz Ziemi, have sent a letter to Polsteam asking the company, and the government, to change its practices.
Whilst new European Union legislation clearly disqualifies shipbreaking on tidal beaches as environmentally sound and safe and more ship owners join the group of those that do not want to be associated with dangerous and polluting practices, Polsteam has already this year sold three end-of-life vessels to South Asian beaching yards. The bulk carriers Armia Ludowa and Polska Walczaca were sold to Bangladesh breakers where shipbreaking is globally acknowledged not to respect even minimum human rights and environmental standards.
Polsteam is undergoing a fleet replacement and investment programme for the years 2015 to 2020 and still owns at least 15 vessels built in the 1990s that are likely candidates for scrapping in the next couple of years.