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Maersk accused of forgoing ethical guidelines

The Danish giant refuses to accept responsibility


Last year, three former Maersk ships were scrapped near Mumbai, India, by impoverished migrant workers in dangerous conditions (Photo: Maersk Line)

July 2, 2014
10:43

by Christian Wenande


The Danish shipping giant Maersk Line has been accused by a NGO of not living up to its own ethical guidelines when it comes to the scrapping of its ships.

Last year, three former Maersk ships were scrapped at Alang Beach near Mumbai, India, by impoverished migrant workers in dangerous conditions.

In 2011, Maersk sold the ships to a Greek shipping company, Diana Shipping, and then chartered them back for two years. Diana Shipping then sent the ships to be scrapped at Alang Beach when the contract expired.

“And that means that Maersk is in conflict with its own ethical guidelines that state the company’s ships must be scrapped responsibly,” Patrizia Heidegger, the head of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, told DR Nyheder.

READ MORE: Maersk pulls out of P3 network after China rejection

Not our problem
Heidegger contends that Maersk has a responsibility to ensure that the new owners of its ships should scrap the ships responsibly – something that Maersk disagrees with.

“We take responsibility for the ships we own,” Jacob Sterling, the head of sustainability at Maersk, said.

“We believe that the responsibility for the ships we sell passes on to the new owner, as is the case if I sold my car.”

Nordic giants
In related news, Maersk has been listed as being the second-largest Nordic company based on net turnover by the analysis firm Largest Companies.

With a net turnover of 265 billion kroner in 2013, Maersk was only surpassed by the Norwegian oil company Statoil, which had a monster turnover of 562 billion kroner.

The six other Danish companies in the top 30 were OW Bunker (11), Novo Nordisk (16), ISS (19), Arla Foods (24), Dong Energy (27) and Carlsberg (30).



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