The NGO Shipbreaking Platform had appreciated Matson fleet that has 23 vessels to recycle in the coming years for its clean and safe recycle policy. Basel Action Network (BAN) revealed and strongly criticized the sale of the Matson owned Horizon Trader for scrapping in India. The Platform and BAN called on All Star Metals of Brownsville, Texas, the last holder of Horizon Trader, to return the ship for clean and safe recycling of the vessel.
Horizon Trader is a 42-year-old US flagged container ship acquired by Matson late last year. It was decided to scrap the vessel. BAN obtained the original Horizon Lines Memorandum of Agreement for the sale of the Horizon Trader, which required the buyer to recycle the vessel responsibly in the U.S. But, it was sent to India. Workers in the ship-breaking yards in India face dangerous and polluting conditions; laboring on tidal sands; breathe in toxic fumes and asbestos; live in shacks close to the yards lacking basic sanitary facilities.
Asbestos removed from the vessels is freely traded in the local market. Oil spills are seen from beached vessels. Patrizia Heidegger, Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform said, India to enter the global ship-breaking industry has to improve the environmental and social conditions.
The export of Horizon Trader outsources pollution and U.S. jobs to Asia and is highly irresponsible. Hence, All Star Metals, a green ship recycler, was asked to turn the Horizon Trader back to Texas for proper recycling.
The Horizon Trader was photographed on September 2nd being towed out of the Port of Brownsville with camouflaging paint on the ship’s hull masking the true identity. BAN then notified Matson and asked the company to recall the ship.
There is a growing consensus amongst ship owners. Already in Europe, 160 members of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association voted to prohibit Norwegian-owned ships to be scrapped on South Asian beaches. This move follows other large foreign ship owners that have also adopted “off-the-beach” ship recycling policies, including Norwegian ship owners Grieg, Wilhelmsen and Høegh, along with German Hapag-Lloyd, Danish Maersk Lines, Royal Dutch Boskalis, Canadian CSL Group and Singaporean China Navigation Company.
The U.S. government requires its ships to be recycled domestically and off the beaches. But, the U.S. government allows private shipowners to reflag their vessels for disposal on foreign ship breaking beaches legally.
Source: NGO Shipbreaking Platform