Maersk has sold two container vessels for scrapping in Alang in India, writes Danish maritime media Søfart.
The vessels in question are container vessels Thomas Mærsk and Clara Mærsk, built in 1994 and 1992, respectively. The vessels have been sold for scrapping through intermediaries, informs Maersk's press office to the media.
With the two vessels, Maersk has sent a total of nine vessels for scrapping on Indian beaching yards since 2016.
In 2018, three Danish-owned vessels ended up on beaches in Alang, where yards are being criticized for being harmful to the environment and workers, although several yards have made improvements in recent years.
The three vessels were owned by Maersk, Monjasa and Evergas. According to the three companies, the vessels have been scrapped under conditions which are in line with applicable standards for responsible scrapping.
Oil fund to send critical letter
The debate regarding the shipping industry's large-scale use of yards in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh has gained traction in recent years, as several banks and investors have started requiring that carriers take greater responsibility for how their worn-out vessels are dealt with.
Most recently, Norway's oil fund announced that carriers that have scrapped vessels in India can look forward to receiving a critical letter from the fund's ethical council soon. The council will contact shipowners in order to start a dialog about their use of the controversial beaching years, where vessels are sailed onto the beach an cut up in the tidal zone.
If the vessels have been scrapped to the detriment of the environment and in violation of human rights, at worst, the companies run the risk of the fund divesting all its shares.
Meanwhile, the European Commission recently questioned how many improvements have actually been made in Alang in India, although the representative from the ship yards and carriers believe great progress has been made.
After making an inspection visit, the Commission has so far declined to approve two yards in India as they do not comply with European standards. This includes Maersk' partner Shree Ram, among others.
English Edit: Ida Jacobsen