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Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative sets sail in search of ‘new normal’ for shipping sector

Major operators back industry initiative designed to crack down on ‘sub-standard practices’ that present environmental risks

A group of leading ship owners, investors, and NGOs has today officially launched the Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative in a bid to crack down on environmentally irresponsible ship-breaking practices that continue to dog the global shipping industry.

Backed by Forum for the Future, the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, and a number of leading shipping firms, the initiative aims to facilitate the voluntary disclosure of detailed ship recycling data by ship owners and ensure financial stakeholders, shipping operators, and cargo owners are better informed about how ships are processed at the end of their life.

Initial signatories to the new initiative include ship owners A.P. Moller Maersk, Hapag-Lloyd, Wallenius Wilhelmsen, The China Navigation Company and NORDEN; financial stakeholders Standard Chartered Bank, Nykredit and GES; and classification society Lloyd’s Register.

The group said it is working with stakeholders to develop “a common set of disclosure criteria and an independent, user friendly online platform where ship owners will be able to share critical information that will be accessible to investors, customers and the wider public”.

The group acknowledged the initiative had been launched in response to an “information gap” within the sector, as well as an awareness that existing legislation and international standards are not being applied consistently across the global shipping industry.

Out of a global fleet of 50,000 ships 835 were recycled last year, but concerns are widespread that many ship-breaking projects are carried out in the informal sector with few safety and environmental controls.

“We see increasing levels of transparency as a key lever for change in ship recycling,” said Stephanie Draper, chief change officer at Forum for the Future. “If ship owners share their practices then it raises awareness of what’s happening, puts pressure on under-performers and allows customers and owners to reward good performance. Ultimately this will lead to better social and environmental outcomes which are so critical for ship recycling.”

John Kornerup Bang, head of sustainability strategy at Maersk, urged other ship owners to join the group.

“Ship recycling is a dangerous undertaking,” he said. “The industry is characterised by widespread use of sub-standard practices and lack of access to information on ship owners’ policies and practices. Therefore, it’s difficult for cargo owners, investors and civil society actors to know what ship recycling practices are in place. The Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative is an excellent response to overcome this information gap. We hope all ship owners will agree and support this initiative.”

His comments were echoed by Roger Strevens, head of sustainability at Wallenius Wilhelmsen, who said he hoped the initiative would help drive up standards across the board.

“Transparency in vessel recycling empowers all responsible stakeholders, including customers, investors and banks, to take informed decisions on whether to be associated with carriers that recycle responsibly, or those that continue with practices that have horrifying human and environmental consequences,” he said. “It is unthinkable that change won’t be driven with such knowledge. It also sends a clear signal to tonnage providers on the new normal.”
Source: Business Green

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