Hamburg prosecutors raid offices of Erck Rickmers, others over illegal shipbreaking

Hamburg public prosecutors have raided the offices of Erck Rickmers Group and other shipowners due to allegations of illegal beaching of ships.

More than a dozen of companies are being investigated on suspicion of the illicit dismantling of three ship oldies — MS Florida I, MS Alexandra Rickmers and MS ER Hamburg, Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR) reported.

Specifically, the shipowners knowingly sold the vessels for scrap in Pakistan – known for poor work safety and environmental practices.

The containerships were dismantled in South Asia a few years ago despite violations of EU and global conventions on environmentally sustainable ship recycling.

The police took away written documents and electronic data that are currently being investigated.

Despite accusations, Erck Rickmers Group said it is not aware of any violations and will fully work with the investigations.

Shipowners continue to dump their toxic ships on South Asian beaches instead of recycling them sustainably at approved facilities. Out of the 204 ships broken in the first quarter of 2021, 155 ships were sold to the beaches of South Asia, NGO Shipbreaking Platform said in a report earlier this year.

To remind, Offshore Energy – Green Marine recently reported about the intoxication and burning of workers of Pakistani workers while scrapping mercury-laden tanker. The vessel had been in the center of media attention for over a year amid concerns over the impact of its export from Indonesia for scrapping in South Asia due to the high level of toxic substances in the tanker’s structures.