Report highlights unsafe practices at Maersk's ship recyclers in Alang, India; Maersk admits gaps

Maersk Georgia and Maersk Wyoming are beached by the Shree Ram yard in Alang, where they are wedged in between other end-of-life vessels in the intertidal zone. Photo: S. Rahman.Danwatch, Danish investigative journalism center's report highlights unsafe practices at Shree Ram, the Alang shipbreaking yard recently contracted to scrap Maersk vessels. The inspection report and accompanying photos, as evaluated by independent safety experts, suggest that Shree Ram does not meet international safety standards. Shree Ram told Reuters that it safeguards workers’ rights. Annette Stube, Maersk Group's head of sustainability told Danwatch that...we agree that the photos show that our requirements are not being met. The situation is being addressed by the shipyard...However, working conditions aside, she asserted that Maersk is quite certain that all Shree Ram workers have labor contracts. Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited MAersk & Shree Ram Group to respond, response from Maersk included. We will indicate next week if Shree Ram Group responds. 

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30 October 2016

Shree Ram Group response

Author: Shree Ram Group

The Shree Ram Group currently operates four ship-recycling facilities at Alang. All facilities are compliant with the national law and have necessary operational approvals in place...In Dec ‘15, Shree Ram (Plot 78) was granted Statement of Compliance to the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) from ClassNK, a reputable international classification society...Danwatch has documented non-compliance situations related to personal protective equipment’s (PPE) which Maersk’s audits already point out to. This is always regrettable and we do not deny that in a few instances requirements have been breached, but we are making a constant effort. These were exceptions at Plot 78 and we are working every day to make sure this does not re-occur. 


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Company response
24 October 2016

Maersk response

Author: A.P. Moller - Maersk

We always conduct our business accordingly to the law. When the EU regulation is ready, we will comply with this regulation as well...we recognize and admit that our own contracts from divestments have not always guaranteed the intention of our recycling policy. We have learned from this. We have tightened our procedures and contract requirements while also realizing that the solution does not lie with clever...contracts and that it may take a long time for a global agreement to become effective...We have taken action instead of waiting on the sideline and the results we have achieved in a few months are far more comprehensive and far-reaching than the seven years of waiting for a global agreement.  

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19 October 2016

Danish shipping giant caught beaching ships in India and Bangladesh

Author: Charles Digges, Bellona

Maersk Line, the world’s biggest container shipper, sent two of its vessels for decommissioning this summer to the Shree Ram yard in Alang on India’s west coast...Lack of employment contracts among the workers and toxic fumes were among findings by the Danish media watchdog Danwatch and two Danish media outlets, TV 2 and Politiken, in a collaborative report documenting conditions for Indian workers at the shipbreaking yard....Maersk spokesman Simon Mehl Augustesen told Reuters...We consider our active presence in Shree Ram and Alang to improve conditions faster and more effectively, than waiting for our standards to be complied with...Shree Ram told Reuters that it safeguards workers’ rights.

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12 October 2016

Maersk & the hazardous waste

Author: Claus Nordahl & Louise Maria Skotte Møller, Danwatch

Threats, fear and inadequate protective equipment are commonplace at the shipbreaking yard in India where two Maersk ships are now being cut up for scrap. Ten shipyard workers tell Danwatch that they lack contracts and safety equipment, and some have been pressured into silence. Reckless, say experts...Several workers were torch cutting surface-treated steel without masks, hearing protection or protective glasses.  They were wearing cotton clothing near open flame, and gas lines lay about among sharp flakes of iron and welding torches...After seeing Danwatch’s documentation, Maersk does concede that there are things going on at the Shree Ram shipyard that are unacceptable...Maersk denies, on the other hand, that the shipyard workers at Shree Ram lack contracts or are uninformed about their rights.

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12 October 2016

Report: Unsafe Practices at Maersk's Ship Recylers

Author: Maritime Executive

Danwatch says that an unauthorized visit to the yard found questionable practices, including...unsafe rigging of cutting gas supply lines along the beach, a risk factor for explosions, a lack of appropriate personal protective equipment, including the absence of safety glasses, earplugs or respirators;, flammable clothing worn during cutting operations, unsanitary living conditions for workers in the nearby community, limited medical facilities to treat the wounded, and a lack of formal contract papers with shipbreaking workers. Annette Stube, Maersk Group's head of sustainability, acknowledged some of these findings.

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