Skip to main content

The Netherlands leads crackdown on illegal shipbreaking practices

Shipowner Holland Maas Scheepvaart Beheer was recently ordered by a Dutch court to pay the hefty sum of EUR 3.1 million for sending a vessel to an Indian shipbreaking yard in 2013. The ruling follows a criminal investigation involving multiple EU countries after the incident came to light several years ago.

The large container ship ended up at the notorious Alang beaching facility, where it was broken up under conditions that contravened the Hong Kong Convention. Holland Maas received an estimated EUR 2.1 million from the sale.

Forty shipbreaking workers died at Alang last year and the prosecutor argued that beaching ‘causes serious damage to the environment and exposes the health of workers and the local population to grave danger’. Holland Maas has pledged never to allow any of its vessels to be beached again.

Who offers the highest price?

The combined fine and settlement is intended to deter other companies from supporting sub-standard practices in southeast Asia. By selling to cash buyers in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, ship owners can get up to US$ 440 light displacement tonnage (LDT). This is much more than the US$ 240 LDT they are currently offered by ship recyclers in Turkey and a long shot from the US$ 125 paid by EU parties. 

Neither the first nor the last

This ruling marks the second anti-beaching case to result in a heavy fine. Last year, a Dutch court ordered shipowner Seatrade to pay a US$ 925 000 fine for selling a ship to a cash buyer in Asia for beaching. Two company executives were also banned from participating in the shipping industry for a year. In January, a Bangladesh shipbreaker was fined US$ 280 000 for scrapping a vessel on the tourist Parki beach.

Finally facing responsibility

‘It is very encouraging to see that ship owners are being held accountable for the trafficking of toxic ships,’ says Ingvild Jenssen of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. Speaking at the recent Ship Recycling Conference in Amsterdam, she praised Dutch shipping firm Boskalis, German business Hapag Lloyd, and Scandinavian companies Wallenius-Wilhelmsen and Grieg for following strict recycling policies ‘that clearly rule out beaching’.

In Jenssen’s view, the Netherlands is taking a ‘leading position’ on tackling the illegal trafficking of ‘toxic ships’. As a result, more investigations are underway in other European countries, including the Harrier case in Norway and the North Sea Producer case in the UK.

The full shipbreaking conference review will be published in the upcoming issue of Recycling International.

Would you like to share any interesting developments or article ideas with us? Don't hesitate to contact us.

You might find this interesting too

ARA to showcase US car recycling sector ‘at its best’
Markets struggling as economies contract

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe now and get a full year for just €136 (normal rate is €170) Subscribe
Share your shear stories and win a GoPro!

It’s safe to say that scrap shears are the pillars of the recycling industry. But which configurations are the future? Take part in our tech survey and get a shot at winning a cool GoPro camera!

Thousands of scrap shears are driving recycling businesses all over the world. When it comes to different types, an operator may opt for maximum tonnage or flexibility, such as a mobile set-up. An integrated baling system is also gaining popularity. Ultimately, there is no wrong or right shear; it comes down to how you’re going to use it.

Our survey is meant to map the wants and needs of today’s dynamic recycling industry. Voice your opinion here and, who knows, you may be able to capture your recycling facility in action in HD.