In 2017, 835 ships were recycled out of a world fleet of 50,000 © DPA/PA Images
In 2017, 835 ships were recycled out of a world fleet of 50,000 © DPA/PA Images

Stakeholders team up to improve ship recycling

10 December 2018

A group of maritime stakeholders has joined forces to create an initiative which enables greater transparency and sustainability in the ship recycling industry.

Through the Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative (SRTI) online platform practices and policies are shared on ship recycling in order to enable the industry to have better informed decision-making.

Previous to the SRTI, there has been no global regulation enforced on shipping companies and this has resulted in ‘adverse social and environmental consequences’. The initiative hopes to increase recycling performance numbers.

In 2017, 835 ships were recycled while 543 ended up beached, out of a world fleet of 50,000, according to NGO Shipbreaking Platform. Germany is responsible for the worst shipbreaking practices among all shipping nations when the size of its fleet is compared to the number of ships broken irresponsibly, said the organisation.

Andrew Stephens, executive director of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative (SSI), said: “Knowledge is power, and with knowledge comes responsibility. We believe that through the simple act of companies being transparent about their approach to ship recycling, we can support improved policy, practice and performance – from the cradle to the grave.” 

The SSI industry stakeholders – including leading shipowners, investors, banks, insurers, and cargo owners – are encouraging a culture of value chain sustainability through a recognised network of knowledge. The shipping industry is building sustainable measures and companies are motivated to take account of the new form of regulation due to the impact negative measures will have on ‘brand value, protecting reputation’, and accountability of supply chains, said the SSI.

The SSI gathered nine months ago with the aim to use the value of transparency as a market motivator for evolving responsible ship recycling as the norm. The hazardous effects from the lack of recycling has brought awareness to the industry, and SSI sees the potential for a 'transformational change' through recycling. SSI co-chair Stephanie Drape said: “At the SSI we see responsible ship recycling as a critical issue that needs to be addressed through smart interventions. We think that the industry can lead by working across the supply chain to change itself.”

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