Maersk is using its leverage to create more responsible recycling options, announcing a commitment to help selected ship recycling yards in Alang to upgrade facilities and practices to comply with the company’s standards.
The market for ship recycling is dominated by practices unchanged for decades. Out of the total 768 ships recycled globally in 2015, 469 – representing 74% of the total gross tonnage scrapped – were sold to facilities on beaches in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with challenges to workers and the environment.
“The Maersk Group’s policy is to only recycle ships responsibly. There has, however, been no change in practices in this area and today, responsible recycling is only feasible in a limited number of yards in China and Turkey,” said the Head of Sustainability in Maersk Group, Annette Stube.
Currently, the estimated extra cost for Maersk Group of responsible recycling at existing yards is $1-2 million for each vessel.
Steady improvements of conditions have been witnessed in ship recycling yards in Alang in the last couple of years and today a total of four yards in Alang are certified to the standards of the International Maritime Organisation and Hong Kong Convention. Following several visits at upgraded beaching facilities in Alang in 2015, the Maersk Group concluded that responsible recycling can be accelerated in the area, if the engagement is made now.
“We want to play a role in ensuring that responsible recycling becomes a reality in Alang, India. To find sustainable solutions, we are working on building a broader coalition with other ship owners and have initiated engagement with a number of carefully selected yards in Alang. This includes improving local waste facilities and hospitals – and upgrading the housing conditions for the migrant workers in Alang,” said Annette Stube.
The Maersk Group is engaging in the development of sustainable ship recycling on the long term and will in the coming years work directly with selected certified yards in Alang to further upgrade their facilities and practices to comply with the company’s standards.