News item 6, August 2021
Hamburg prosecutor investigates beaching practices
Unofficial translation by Google translate
Ships dumped illegally? Searches in Hamburg
As of: 08/26/2021 7:58 a.m. Hamburg Journal
Raid on several shipowners and ship owners in Hamburg and the surrounding area: It is about the allegation of having disposed of ships illegally.
According to the Hamburg public prosecutor’s office, more than a dozen companies are being investigated on suspicion of illegally dismantling three old ships. It’s about the “MS Florida I”, the “MS Alexandra Rickmers” and the “MS E. R. Hamburg”. The police searched a total of seven objects on Wednesday. It ensured “written documents and electronic data that are currently being evaluated”.
Ships made to Pakistan?
Specifically, it is about the allegation that the entrepreneurs did not have the ships properly scrapped, but sold them, knowing that the buyers are taking the ships to Pakistan, “where they were driven to an unsecured beach and broken up there under environmentally hazardous circumstances”, according to the prosecutor. The ships are said to have been dismantled on the beach, in particular the scrap value is of economic importance for the buyers. In the shipping industry, this procedure is called “beaching” after the English word for beach.
Rickmers group of companies among the accused
The Hamburg shipowner Erck Rickmers group of companies is also among the accused. Rickmers says it welcomes violations of environmental regulations. However, they are not aware of any violation and want to work with the investigators.
More than 400 ocean-going ships are said to have been scrapped on beaches in South Asia in 2020 alone. Through intermediaries, scrappers buy up old ships and put them on the beach at full speed. Migrant workers then dismantle freighters, tankers and even cruise ships on the spot – good business for shipowners who do not have to pay for environmentally friendly disposal. All in all, ships worth around one billion euros are at stake every year. The international non-governmental organization “Shipbreaking Platform” has denounced environmental damage, human rights violations, child labor, illnesses and deaths as well as accidents in connection with the dismantling of old ships via “beaching” for years.
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