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US shipping company to reject vessel beaching

United States – US shipping company Matson has announced that it will no longer send its old vessels for dismantling on the beaches of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Matson has a fleet of some 23 ships that are to be scrapped over the next few years, although the company’s decision does not address the Horizon Trader – an old Matson vessel that is currently on its way to India, according to the Basel Action Network (BAN) and the NGO Shipbreaking Platform in Brussels.

These two organisations have called on the Texas-based All Star Metals ship recycling facility, the last holder of the Horizon Trader, to return the ship to the USA for proper recycling at its yard.

‘While we regret that one more US ship is likely to end up on the killing beaches of South Asia, we recognise the important commitment Matson has made for future recycling contracts,’ comments BAN’s Colby Self. ‘Ship owners today can no longer claim ignorance. They know very well the environmental and human health impacts of their ship recycling decisions, which for too long have been ignored to maximise profits.’

The Horizon Trader – a 42-year-old US-flagged container ship – was acquired by Matson when it purchased Horizon Lines late last year, and it was subsequently decided to scrap the vessel.

The US government has maintained a long-standing policy that requires its own ships to be recycled domestically and off the beaches. ‘Ironically, this stands in stark contrast to the fact that the US government allows private ship owners to legally reflag their vessels for disposal on foreign shipbreaking beaches,’ BAN points out.

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