Shipping company Eimskip has issued a statement in response to an investigation that revealed their former ships were sent to a scrapyard in India where environmental and human rights violations are rampant. In the document, the company states its belief that it “complied with laws and regulations” regarding the sale of the ships, and pointed to their buyer as responsible for the decision to recycle them outside of Europe.
Investigation Alleges Eimskip Circumvented European Law
Icelandic news program Kveikur recently investigated how Eimskip had divested itself of two old container vessels. The investigation revealed that the company had sold the ships to a notorious middleman known for sending such vessels to shipbreaking yards in Southeast Asia. At least 137 people have died breaking down old ships in the coastal town of Alang, where Eimskip’s two vessels ended up. Kveikur’s investigative journalists allege that Eimskip’s sale of the ships was carried out in full knowledge of where they would end up and constitutes a circumventing of European law.
Eimskip Says Buyer is Responsible
In the statement, Eimskip denies it sold the ships with the knowledge they would end up as scrap in India, and the “sale of the vessels was not an action by the Company to profit from higher recycling prices in other parts of the world.”
“Although the company believes that it complied with laws and regulations in the sale process, it is clear that the Company could have made greater requirements towards the buyer in light of the age of the vessels,” Eimskip’s statement reads. “That could be done by including a provision in the sales contract that if the vessels should be recycled, it would be done in a recycling yard that complies with European standards. Eimskip apologizes for not doing so.”
The statement adds that Eimskip’s board and executive management hope to “learn from the incident,” and that the company will review its processes to “develop a clearer policy” in the divestment of its vessels.
The full statement is available in English.