Shipbreaking Industry Sustainability Still Not in Sight

The decommissioning and scrapping of old vessels is a notoriously dangerous and environmentally disruptive industry. Bangladesh is central to this industry, and cost-effectiveness for the approximately 150 yards breaking down vessels often comes at the expense of regulatory compliance. The Bangladesh government enacted the Ship Recycling Act in 2018 to comply with the Hong Kong International Convention, but only one yard (PHP Family) has made changes to comply in the past two years, with only three other yards (Khawja Steel, SN Corporation and Arefin Enterprise) trying to achieve those standards.

India, China and Turkey represent other competitive markets for shipbreaking, with higher rates of compliance, and due to the lack of environment-friendly yards, Bangladesh is also failing to reduce workplace deaths at the yards, with 149 reported deaths on-site from workplace accidents in the past decade.

The investment and foresight required for sustainable shipyard operations should come under close scrutiny as Pacific Island Nations seek to modernize and expand shipyard facilities and operations to meet domestic/intra-regional needs. 

This means ensuring all the activities of recycling a scrap ship take place in a ship-breaking yard. The yard may be certified "Green" by the IMO under the Hong Kong International Convention when it complies with IMO regulations and standards to  ensure no pollution occurs in the surrounding land and sea.