Human Rights And Environmental NGOs Urge UNDP To Ensure Clean And Safe Recycling Of FSO Safer

In a letter addressed to the UNDP, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), the Basel Action Network (BAN), and the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, representing a global coalition of human rights and environmental organisations, call for the recycling of the Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) vessel SAFER in accordance with international law and UNDP’s own ethical and sustainability policies.

The NGOs warn against the possibility of the FSO being scrapped at one of the notorious South Asian shipbreaking yards known for their poor working conditions and the irreversible harm their operations cause to public health and fragile ecosystems.

FSO Safer
Credits: United Nations

“Now that a successful operation has commenced for removing oil from the FSO SAFER [1], it is essential that the UNDP addresses the inherent risks associated with the cleaning of the vessel’s tanks and its scrapping. We urge the UNDP to exercise due diligence when selecting the final recycling destination.”

Ingvild Jenssen – Executive Director and Founder – NGO Shipbreaking Platform

The FSO SAFER likely contains significant amounts of toxic substances and materials, including asbestos, mercury-contaminated oil residues and heavy metal-laden paints, that may cause damage to human health and the environment.

The UNDP must ensure compliance with the UN Basel Convention, which regulates the transboundary movement and disposal of hazardous wastes, and that the recycling of the FSO SAFER is carried out in a facility that respects international labour rights; guarantees full containment of pollutants via a dry-dock or equivalent infrastructure; and is capable of managing all hazardous materials onboard and embedded within the FSO’s structure in a safe and environmentally sound manner.

In view of the vessel’s dire condition, precautions must furthermore be taken to avoid that the contaminated structure sinks during its transport to the recycling yard.

“The UNDP cannot allow its Stop Red Sea Oil Spill operation end with the FSO SAFER putting workers, local communities and the environment in South Asia at risk. The shipbreaking beaches in South Asia are already some of the most polluted beaches in the world. Alternatives exist [2], and the UNDP must opt a facility that operates in accordance with industry best practice and uses environmentally friendly technologies implementing sound life-cycle practices.”

Ingvild Jenssen – Executive Director and Founder – NGO Shipbreaking Platform

Press Release

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