In the wave of discussions on Maersk entering the ship recycling sector in Alang, Maersk has faced criticism for its handling of two independent cases related to ship recycling. One related to the FPSO North Sea Producer that was sent by its new owner to a ship recycling yard in Bangladesh, despite Maersk stipulating in the contract that the production unit, at the end of its lifetime, was to be recycled according to the Hong Kong Convention.
The other case relates to 14 chartered-in Starflotte ships whose contracts Maersk wanted to end ahead of time in 2014. In the final agreement with the owner, Maersk incentivised recycling at the best price, which effectively means recycling at sub-standard yards, which is what the owner chose to do when the vessels were returned.
In the latter case, Maersk has publicly acknowledged, and regrets that it indirectly incentivised the owner to recycle at sub-standard yards.
As outlined by the Head of the Sustainability Council, Claus V. Hemmingsen, the Group has responded to these cases by tightening its procedures:
"We have actively participated in, and worked directly with the yards in Alang, India, to improve conditions there and to influence the industry as a whole. Therefore, it is regrettable that in spite of these initiatives there are examples of how we have pushed in the opposite direction of our own policy. In the future, we will ensure that our sales contracts contain a very strong incentive for ship recycling to be carried out responsibly,” says Claus V. Hemmingsen.
Minimising the financial incentive
In 2009, the Group introduced a responsible recycling policy and expressed its support for the Hong Kong Convention. Procedures were further tightened in September 2016, in order to minimise the financial incentive for buyers to recycle irresponsibly.