Transport and Shipping – Danwatch https://danwatch.dk/en/ undersøgende journalistik Fri, 18 Jan 2019 13:18:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://danwatch.dk/dw-content/uploads/2017/09/cropped-Danwatch_fav-450x450.gif Transport and Shipping – Danwatch https://danwatch.dk/en/ 32 32 De får to kroner i timen for at laste Mærsk-skibe https://danwatch.dk/en/undersoegelse/de-faar-to-kroner-i-timen-for-at-laste-maersk-skibe/ Thu, 22 Nov 2018 22:01:35 +0000 https://danwatch.dk/undersoegelse/de-faar-to-kroner-i-timen-for-at-laste-maersk-skibe/
A Danwatch investigation
Arbejderne, der losser og laster Mærsk-skibe på Østafrikas største havn sover på papkasser bag containerne, mangler sikkerhedsudstyr og arbejder for langt under mindstelønnen. Mærsk “ser med stor alvor” på Danwatchs dokumentation.
Johan Seidenfaden

Journalist

Johan Seidenfaden

Journalist

Research: Ida Stigaard Bruhn & Johanne Rübner Hansen / Foto: Linda Bournane Engelberth

Redaktør:

I samarbejde med Ekstra Bladet
Arbejderne, der losser og laster Mærsk-skibe på Østafrikas største havn sover på papkasser bag containerne, mangler sikkerhedsudstyr og arbejder for langt under mindstelønnen. Mærsk “ser med stor alvor” på Danwatchs dokumentation.
  • Vi har interviewet 27 havnearbejdere i Mombasa. Flere arbejdere fortæller, at man risikerer at miste sit arbejde, hvis man taler med fagforeninger eller journalister. Derfor har vi valgt ikke at bringe deres egentlige navne.
  • Det samme gælder de arbejdere, der arbejder for underleverandører til Mærsk. Vi kender deres navne og har dokumentation for, at de er ansat af Mærsks underleverandør.
  • Af samme grund viderebringer vi heller ikke navnene på de underleverandører og lokale virksomheder, der har ansat dem.

“Kan du se den container derovre? Vi lægger vores papstykker ned, og så sover vi der”, svarer en lille, lidt ældre arbejder, da han bliver spurgt, hvor han sover.

Det handler om at finde et sted til den sammenfoldede papkasse, hvor der ikke er fare for at blive kørt over af en kran eller et andet køretøj.

Den ældre herre kalder vi for Samson Bitok, og han står sammen med en håndfuld kolleger og venter på, at en traktor skal komme kørende med endnu container, som skal hejses om bord på det gigantiske Mærsk-skib bag dem.

Han flyttede til Mombasa, da han var dreng. Hele hans arbejdsliv har været på havnen, men en kontrakt har han aldrig fået. Og heller ikke ret mange penge.

“Jeg har mange gange prøvet at finde et andet job, på hotellerne og fabrikkerne. Men de siger altid, at de ikke har noget. På havnen siger de okay, de kender mig, de siger, at jeg skal komme i morgen tidlig”.

Han drømmer om at få et pas, så han kan rejse til Dubai for at finde et arbejde, der bedre kan forsørge hans kone og fire børn.

“Livet er vanskeligt i Mombasa. Lige nu prøver jeg at låne nogle penge, så jeg kan rejse hjem og begrave min bror. Men da jeg spurgte chefen, sagde han, at vi skulle vente og se om ikke min familie sender nogle penge til mig”, fortæller han.

Indgangen til Østafrika

Danwatch har besøgt havnen i Mombasa, indgangen til Østafrika og et knudepunkt for verdenshandlen, for at undersøge arbejdsvilkårene for de tusindvis af havnearbejdere, der for få kroner i timen laster og losser vores varer, og sørger for, at morgenkaffen kan finde vej fra kenyanske kaffeplantager til morgentrætte danskeres kaffekopper.

Og det er ikke bare morgenkaffen, der forbinder havnearbejderne i Mombasa med danskerne.

Mærsk, verdens største virksomhed inden for container-shipping, er også en stor spiller på havnen.

Fra hovedkontoret på Esplanaden i København har Mærsk drevet shipping-virksomhed i Kenya siden 1987. Og for de arbejdere på havnen, der er ansat direkte af den danske shippinggigant, har det skabt bæredygtige arbejdspladser med faste forhold, glinsende nyt sikkerhedsudstyr og betalte frokostpauser.

Men for arbejderne, der laster og losser Mærsk-skibe og bærer tunge sække ind i containerne for den danske shippinggigants underleverandører, ser virkeligheden helt anderledes ud.

To kroner i timen og 24 timers vagter

Et af de skibe der sejler containere for Mærsk ligger ved kajen i Mombasa. Den ældre herre, der drømmer om et liv i Dubai og hans sjak er i gang med at laste det.

De mangler ikke kun grundlæggende sikkerhedsudstyr, men også en løn, som de faktisk kan leve af.

“Det er meget vanskeligt. Jeg prøver at forsørge to børn, men det er næsten umuligt”, fortæller en 42 år gammel mand, som også bidrager til at få fragtet containerne ombord på Mærsk-skibet.

Arbejderne er ansat af en lokal virksomhed, der siden 2012 har haft en kontrakt med Maersk Line Kenya om at udføre arbejde i forbindelse med læsning og losning af Mærsk-skibe i Mombasa.

De oplyser alle, at de får en løn på 250 kenyanske shilling for otte timers arbejde. Det svarer til en timeløn på to kroner. Og det er næsten fire gange under minimumslønnen i Kenya.

Hvis vi var i Danmark ville man have givet et påbud om, at de skulle udstyres med sikkerhedssko og hjelme”, siger Hasse Mortensen, tidligere tilsynschef i det danske arbejdstilsyn, der har ført tilsyn med danske havne. (NB: På videoen optræder også arbejdere, som Mærsk ikke har et dokumenteret ansvar for.)

Video: Linda Bournane Engelberth 

”Vi har vores senge herude. De der karton-ting – afrikanske senge”, forklarer arbejdere, der er i færd med at laste et Mærsk-skib. De griner, mens en henter et par usamlede papkasser, og viser, hvad en ”afrikansk seng” er. Foto: Linda Bournane Engelberth

Fordi de ikke kan leve af lønnen, og fordi de er løsarbejdere og arbejder så meget de kan, når et skib er i havn, er det normalt, at de arbejder tre otte-timers vagter i træk.

“Jeg bor oppe nord på. Det koster 100 shilling med færgebussen hver vej, så jeg skal arbejde otte timer, bare for at betale for transporten”, forklarer Samson Bitok som svar på, hvorfor de arbejder så længe ad gangen.

Andre fortæller, at de ikke kan betale husleje, og at de ikke kan købe ris, hvis ikke de arbejder i døgndrift. Mellem vagterne sover de på de sammenfoldede papkasser, før de igen er klar til at tage en ny 24 timers vagt.

Billige hjelme i supermarkedet

Til trods for, at hjelme, refleksveste og sikkerhedssko er et krav fra havnemyndighederne til alle, der opholder sig på havneområdet, mangler arbejderne sikkerhedsudstyr. Et par stykker har udtrådte sikkerhedssko, og der er også et par slidte refleksveste. Resten har det ikke. Ingen af dem har hjelm på.

“Vi har ikke beskyttelsesudstyr. Vi har ikke engang regnjakker, når der er regntid”, siger en arbejder iført en fodboldtrøje.

Samson Bitok fortæller, at han fik hjelm og vest, da han startede i jobbet men ikke har fået nyt, efter det gamle blev slidt op. Andre arbejdere fortæller, at de selv skal skaffe alt sikkerhedsudstyr. Og det er der ikke råd til.

“Sikkerhedssko koster 3.000 shilling (næsten 200 kroner, red.). Jeg har ikke 3.000 shilling. Hjelme er også dyrt. Man kan købe nogle billigere hjelme i supermarkedet, men det er meget dårligt materiale”, siger Samson.

Mandskabet på skibene giver dem nogle gange aflagt sikkerhedsudstyr.

“De hjælper os. Også en gang imellem med mad. Når de er færdige med at spise, giver de resten af maden til sjak-formanden, som deler det med resten af sjakket”.

Hør Samson Bitok fortælle blandt andet, hvordan skibenes besætninger hjælper dem med sikkerhedsudstyr og mad.

Tunge sække og bare fødder

Det er ikke kun nede ved det store Mærsk-skib, at arbejdere, der befinder sig nederst på den sociale rangstige, knokler for Mærsks underleverandører.

Ved et af havnens pakhuse, drevet af en lokal virksomhed, løber arbejdere på bare fødder op og ned ad en provisorisk rampe, der er sat sammen af træpaller. På hovedet bærer de tunge sække, der skal fragtes ind i den ventende container.

Mærsk bekræfter, at de også gør brug af denne underleverandør. For at beskytte arbejderne, der risikerer at miste deres job, har Danwatch valgt ikke at navngive underleverandørerne.

Arbejderne får kun 70 øre for hver sæk, de bærer fra pakhuset og ind i containeren, fortæller en af arbejderne, der har indvilget i at blive interviewet, hvis vi gemmer os bag en lastbil, og ikke bringer hans egentlige navn. Derfor kalder vi ham Jonas.

“Vi arbejdere kan ikke gøre noget, for i morgen skal vi stå her igen og bede om arbejde. Hvis man er en af dem, der taler om bedre løn, så bliver man ‘mærket’. Virksomhederne vil ikke have det – de vil have deres profit”, siger han.

Der er ofte ulykker i varehusene, fortæller Jonas. Nogen falder og brækker et ben, andre træder på et søm. Når der sker ulykker lyver arbejderne og siger, at de havde sikkerhedsudstyr på, da ulykken skete, af hensyn til forsikringen.

“For ikke at skabe problemer for virksomheden”, forklarer han.

1-2-3-4. Hver sæk udløser ca. 70 øre. I højsæson, hvor der er rigtigt travlt, og tempoet er højt, kan der være 2-3 ulykker om dagen i et varehus, fortæller en bærer. 

Video: Linda Bournane Engelberth 

1-2-3-4. Hver sæk udløser ca. 70 øre. I højsæson, hvor der er rigtigt travlt og tempoet er højt, kan der være 2-3 ulykker om dagen i et varehus, fortæller en bærer.
Foto: Linda Bournane Engelberth 

Men jeg kan ikke sætte tal på risikoen for arbejderne i havnen i Mombasa, for det, de fortæller om, ligger jo langt uden for skalaen i de risiko-indeks, vi opererer med.

Anne Helene Garde, professor ved Det Nationale Forskningscenter for Arbejdsmiljø Tweet

Betydelig ulykkesrisiko

Billedmaterialet Danwatch har indhentet fra havnen har vi forelagt for eksperter i arbejdsmiljø og sikkerhed. Hos eksperterne er der ikke tvivl om, at arbejdsforholdene for de mennesker, der laster og losser for Mærsks underleverandører er opslidende og risikofyldt.

“De her arbejdere befinder sig helt nederst i hierarkiet i et arbejdsmiljø, der slider dem ned, samtidig med, at de er udsat for en betydelig ulykkesrisiko. Var vi i Danmark ville man med det samme have givet virksomheden et påbud for manglende sikkerhedsudstyr”, siger Hasse Mortensen, der er tidligere tilsynschef i det danske arbejdstilsyn, hvor han har lang erfaring med tilsyn med blandt andet danske havne.

“De arbejder rigtig mange timer i stræk og sover bag nogle containere. Det giver alle muligheder for træthed, og det nedbryder opmærksomheden. Det er typisk der, at ulykkesrisikoen er stor”, siger Mortensen.

“Udenfor skalaen”

Jane Frølund Thomsen, overlæge og leder for Arbejdsmedicinsk Center på Bispebjerg Hospital, bekræfter, at der er en åbenlys sikkerhedsrisiko for arbejderne, der losser og laster Mærsk-skibe.

“Arbejderne mangler hjelme, det vil sige at der er en risiko for hovedskader. Der må være en vis risiko for nedfald af løstsiddende dele”, siger hun.

Hun reagerer også på, at arbejderne, der bærer sække for en anden underleverandør til Mærsk, ikke har sko på.

“På billedet af arbejdere der bærer sække, er der flere uden sko. Bare fødder medfører stor risiko for at skære sig, eller få noget ned over foden med brud til følge, og sår vil nemt blive inficerede i det miljø”, siger hun, og kommenterer på de tunge løft.

“De meget lange arbejdsdage i kombination med løft af tunge byrder på nakke, skuldre og ryg giver også betydelig risiko for sygdomme i nakke og lænd, som diskusprolaps og slidgigt”, siger Frølund Thomsen.

Også Anne Helene Garde, professor ved Det Nationale Forskningscenter for Arbejdsmiljø, har vurderet materialet Danwatch har indsamlet.

Hun forsker blandt andet i sammenhængen mellem arbejdstid og ulykker.

“Det er velkendt, at lange vagter, få og korte pauser, flere vagter i træk og natarbejde, øger risikoen for ulykker. For eksempel viser nye studier, at risikoen for ulykker stiger med 34 procent , når arbejdstiden overstiger den 12. time. Men jeg kan ikke sætte tal på risikoen for arbejderne i havnen i Mombasa, for det, de fortæller om, ligger jo langt uden for skalaen i de risiko-indeks, vi opererer med”, siger hun.

Uddrag fra Mærsks Code of Conduct for leverandører:

We expect our Suppliers to pay all employees a fair and equal compensation, in accordance with national laws and regulations

We expect our Suppliers to comply with appropriate working hour requirements as established by national law or relevant collective agreements.

We expect our Suppliers to provide a safe and healthy working environment for all their employees.

Good Business Practice: The Supplier ensures that his employees are provided with protective equipment and training, necessary to safely perform functions in their position.

Good Business Practice: The Supplier documents accidents and adjusts its processes to effectively prevent recurring problems.

Good Business Practice: The Supplier has a written contract (or letter) of employment with each employee.

Good Business: Overtime hours are not required, in order for employees to earn a living wage sufficient to meet basic needs.

Good Business Practice: The Supplier ensures by policy and practice that the
maximum working hours in a week shall not – on a regular basis – exceed 48 hours, with a maximum of 60 hours per week, including overtime, unless it is permitted according to applicable laws and regulations, and relevant collective agreements.

Good Business Practice: Employees are entitled to at least one day off per week
and are given reasonable breaks while working and sufficient rest periods between shifts.

I strid med Mærsks egne retningslinier

Mærsk bekræfter, at de to lokale virksomheder er deres underleverandører, men de ønsker ikke at stille op til interview om arbejdsforholdene på havnen i Mombasa.

Derfor er der en række spørgsmål, vi ikke har fået svar på. Vi ville blandt andet gerne vide, om Mærsk betaler sine underleverandører nok til, at de kan betale en ordentlig løn til sine ansatte. Og vi ville gerne have svar på, hvordan det kan være, at Mærsk, til trods for at de hævder at de fører løbende kontrol med om underleverandørers ansatte har korrekt sikkerhedsudstyr, i seks år har haft en underleverandør, der ikke har styr på sikkerhedsudstyr?

Mærsks pressechef Signe Wagner skriver i stedet i en mail, at de “ser med stor alvor på de informationer, I har fremlagt vedrørende vores to underleverandører”.

Forholdene strider direkte mod Mærsks egne retningslinjer for underleverandører, deres såkaldte Third Party Code of Conduct.

Her står der, at underleverandører skal betale en løn, der følger national lovgivning, at de skal stille sikkerhedsudstyr til rådighed, at arbejdere skal have en kontrakt. Og endelig, at det ikke skal være nødvendigt at arbejde overtid for at få en løn, der dækker basale behov.

Igangsætter undersøgelser

Mærsk bekræfter, at begge de omtalte underleverandører er omfattet af selskabets Third Party Code of Conduct. Mærsk skriver også, at de vil blive genstand for en undersøgelse af arbejdsforhold hos underleverandører.

“Skulle vi finde overtrædelser af vores Third Party Code of Conduct, og skulle det vise sig, at vi igennem vores indkøbspraksis har været med til at påvirke i den forkerte retning, så vil vi rette op på dette hurtigst muligt”, skriver Wagner.

Mærsk bryster sig af, at have et globalt Responsible Procurement Program, hvor de følger op på, om kravene til deres underleverandører efterleves. Alligevel har de altså siden 2012 haft arbejdere til at laste og losse Mærsk-skibe uden sikkerhedsudstyr, og under elendige arbejdsforhold.

Det forklarer Mærsk med, at de i deres opfølgning har haft fokus på andre typer af underleverandører.

“I en periode har vi lagt vores fokus på andre typer af leverandører end den, som er omtalt i jeres undersøgelse”.

Kenya Ports Authority, de kenyanske havnemyndigheder, der driver havnen i Mombasa, har ikke besvaret Danwatchs forespørgsler om et interview.

Hele historien delt op i artikler. Bestem selv, hvor du begynder.

]]>
Maersk and the Shadowy Deals https://danwatch.dk/en/undersoegelse/maersk-and-the-shadowy-deals/ Sun, 16 Oct 2016 07:27:19 +0000 http://danwatch.dk/undersoegelse/maersk-and-the-shadowy-deals/ Maersk and the Hazardous Waste in Bangladesh https://danwatch.dk/en/undersoegelse/maersk-and-the-hazardous-waste-in-bangladesh/ Sat, 15 Oct 2016 10:48:45 +0000 http://danwatch.dk/undersoegelse/maersk-and-the-hazardous-waste-in-bangladesh/ Maersk scraps ships at dangerous shipyards in India https://danwatch.dk/en/maersk-scraps-ships-at-dangerous-shipyards-in-india/ https://danwatch.dk/en/maersk-scraps-ships-at-dangerous-shipyards-in-india/#respond Sat, 08 Oct 2016 13:02:14 +0000 https://danwatch.dk/maersk-scraps-ships-at-dangerous-shipyards-in-india/ Right now, the two nearly 300-metre long container ships Maersk Georgia and Maersk Wyoming are lying on a beach in India and being cut into pieces by Indian shipyard workers. The 20,000-ton steel ships have sunk into the sand off Alang beach on India’s west coast, where the Shree Ram shipbreaking yard has been hired to scrap the ships for Maersk.

Not a valid elementor page

This must be done responsibly and in accordance with Maersk’s own standards, according to the company’s stated policy. Maersk also requires that the shipyard uphold the so-called Hong Kong Convention, which was created in part to ensure that scrapyards meet the necessary safety measures for their workers. Safety measures, that are supposed to put an end to gruesome statistics like the 69 who died at the shipyards in Alang between 2009 and 2013, according to the findings of Geetanjoy Sahu, assistant professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, who has studied conditions there.

Danwatch chose to travel to India to investigate how Maersk’s ships are recycled. We have documented the shipbreaking process at the specific yard, and have interviewed ten shipyard workers who report that neither they nor their colleagues have employment contracts – in direct violation of Maersk’s internal standards and of international conventions.
In addition, the shipyard workers report that they work without necessary personal protective equipment in an industry that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has called the most dangerous in the world.

Maersk Georgia and Maersk Wyoming are beached by the Shree Ram yard in Alang, where they lie wedged between other end-of-life vessels in the intertidal zone. The tidal range is 13 meters. Photo: S. Rahman.

Expert: “The shipyard should be shut down”

Not a valid elementor page

We showed photo documentation from the shipyard in India to a series of experts in occupational safety and health, including Hasse Mortensen, the former lead inspector consultant at the Danish Working Environment Authority, who has a thorough knowledge of occupational environment at shipyards. He was shocked by the conditions at the shipbreaking yard handling Maersk’s ships.
Hong Kong Convention
The Hong Kong convention is a global agreement adopted by the International Maritime Organisation. It’s purpose is to ensure that ship dismantling does not pose unnecessary risks to humans and the environment. The convention has not yet entered into force as this would, among other things, require a minimum of 15 countries ratifying the convention.
So far only five countries (Norway, France, Belguim, Panama and the Republic of Congo) have done so. According to the Danish Minister for Environment and Food Esben Lunde Larsen a Danish ratification of the convention is underway, which Maersk is an advocate for.
“There can be a sudden, imminent danger of explosion in the circumstances you’re showing me. I have almost no words to describe how wrong things could go for those workers if these gas lines get damaged and the gas ignites,” says Mortensen, looking at a picture from Shree Ram that shows unprotected gas cables near an open flame.
“In a Danish setting, this would be grounds to close the work site until the lines were hung properly and secured. You have to remember, these are extremely flammable gasses they are working with,” emphasises Mortensen.
Jane Frølund Thomsen, a senior consultant with the Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Bispebjerg University Hospital, agrees. She evaluates work-related illnesses among labourers, including shipyard workers, in Denmark.
“Torch cutting involves safety risk. It uses pure oxygen, which is liable to explode if there are sparks around, especially if the sparks get near the gas lines. If the insulation is burned off the lines, and oxygen leaks out, there is a serious danger of explosion and fire,” declares Thomsen.

“I barely have words for, how badly it can get for those workers, if those gas lines are damaged or ignited,” says former chief supervisor and -consultant of the Labour Inspection, Hasse Mortensen. Photo: S. Rahman.

Maersk admits error

Many of the employees at Shree Ram work without necessary personal protective equipment like respirators, safety glasses, work clothes and hearing protectors. This, too, shocked Hasse Mortensen, who has seen many accidents caused by a lack of protective equipment in his 20 years at the Working Environment Authority.
“That is really poisonous smoke they’re breathing. Meanwhile, some are not even wearing flame-retardant clothing. This could be a life-threatening situation if the sparks hit their shirt,” insists Mortensen.

Several of the workers at Shree Ram yard wear flammable cotton shirts, despite working with open fire reaching 1500 degrees celsius. Photo: S. Rahman.

Maersk concedes in an interview with Danwatch that there are areas in need of improvement in order to ensure worker safety.
“We have found few examples where dismantling is being undertaken without the necessary safety equipment. The situation is being addressed by the shipyard. It is of course unsatisfactory if the equipment is not being worn, even in isolated cases. This is one of the issues regarding safety equipment that the shipyard is addressing,” said Annette Stube.
The shipyard workers at Shree Ram earn their pay by cutting the ship into small pieces that can be recycled in the steel industry. They do this by mixing oxygen and gas in a device that can cut through steel and paint with a flame that can reach up to 1500 degrees Celsius. The process is called torch cutting, and it gives off a number of harmful substances, according to Mortensen.
“When you are torch cutting with black steel, microscopic particles and gasses are given off that are extremely dangerous to inhale. It can therefore have disastrous, damaging health effects on the body if you are not properly protected,” says the former lead inspector of the Working Environment Authority.

On the beach in front of the Maersk ships, workers cut the bow of Wyoming, spreading toxic fumes across the yard. Photo: S. Rahman.

Poisonous smoke can cause cancer

Over the years, Danish metal workers have contracted serious illnesses and even died as a consequence of not wearing the necessary safety equipment. Jane Frølund Thomsen of Bispebjerg University Hospital knows exactly how this kind of smoke affects the body, since she sees Danish metal workers in her practice who are suffering from lung disease and cancer.
“The rules here in Denmark require an exhaust system when doing that kind of work. It’s hard to say whether there is an acute danger, but if they perform torch cutting in a confined space for long enough, there is a real risk of suffocation,” says Thomsen.
Protection from welding and cutting smoke is not only a central element in Danish workplace law, it is required by both Maersk’s own standards and the Hong Kong Convention, which both Maersk and Shree Ram claim to uphold.
Some of the workers who spoke to Danwatch reported that they use a white mask when they are welding in the ships at Shree Ram. But an ordinary mask is far from enough to keep dangerous gasses out, says Thomsen.

3M N95 8210. “That mask is not sufficient to protect against particles and smoke from torch cutting,” says former chief supervisor and -consultant at the Labour Inspection, Hasse Mortensen. Workers at the Shree Ram yard wore this type of mask while torch cutting. Photo: S. Rahmann.

“A mask offers hardly any protection. It doesn’t filter out toxic gasses at all, and not much of the smoke, either. The smoke can contain formalin when you’re dealing with painted surfaces, and we know that formalin causes lung cancer, because it’s carcinogenic. But it would have to be present in a certain concentration,” says Thomsen.
Thomsen could not comment on the particular mask used by the workers, but Hasse Mortensen could. He has a thorough expertise in protective equipment, and knows the 3M model N95 8210 mask used by the workers well.

“This mask is not sufficient to protect against particles and smoke from torch cutting. It is specifically designed to protect against dust. Smoke from torch cutting can contain particles that 1000 times smaller than dust. So if the mask cannot filter out particles this size, they pass through, straight into the lungs of the affected worker,” says Mortensen.

Clear breach of the Hong Kong Convention

Kanu Jain is a researcher at the Delft University of Technology in Holland, where he studies shipbreaking. He is about to complete his PhD on the subject, for which a large part of his research has been focused on shipbreaking methods. He agrees with the experts’ assessments of the dangerous working conditions at Shree Ram, and emphasises that it is not only a case of noncompliance with Maersk’s internal standards, but also of clear breaches of the Hong Kong Convention.
“Workers seem to be missing breathing and eye protection during cutting operations, which violates Regulation 22 – ‘Worker safety and training’ – of the Hong Kong Convention,” says Jain, who has authored with Professor J.J. Hopmann from the same university and others a scholarly article on the Hong Kong Convention itself.

The Convention is also the focal point of Maersk’s own standards for responsible shipbreaking. The standards are based on the Convention, but go a step further and are more specific in their requirements of shipyards.
The more specific requirements please Peter Hasle, professor of occupational environment at the Centre for Industrial Production at Aalborg University. He has for many years carried out research in the field of occupational environment management, and has also been a professor at the National Research Centre for the Working Environment.
In his opinion, Maersk’s requirements with respect to safety at the shipyards are an appropriate reflection of the firm’s size and responsibility. But after a careful review of the documentation from the shipyard, he reaches a different conclusion.
“It makes you wonder why Maersk chose this shipyard, because it is obvious that it does not fulfil the company’s requirements. My assessment is that the shipyard was not able to show that they meet Maersk’s standards, and so maybe they prepared some nice paperwork to explain how they plan to make improvements along the way. But the problems I see here are so significant that it seems completely meaningless. They are not even close to meeting the requirements. It’s the absolutely baseline conditions that are the problem,” underscores the professor.
Annette Stube reports that Maersk has invested a great deal in hiring competent people to represent the company at the shipyard.
“We have several people at the shipyard who have the power to stop the work if it does not comply with the standards. They are specialists, employed by us, with their own office at the shipyard so they can be on site.”
Peter Hasle believes that this is a healthy approach, but has a hard time understanding what those specialists are doing at the shipyard if such dangerous conditions are to be found.
“Maersk has a tremendous responsibility here. If they are present and observe these things without taking action, then they are communicating to the local management and employees that these dangerous situations are acceptable. If Maersk is present, but does nothing, then Maersk employees learn that it’s acceptable to conduct business that way – and that Maersk’s requirements do not matter,” says Hasle.
Expert: The standards are not being met at all
Danwatch has interviewed more than ten workers from Shree Ram who were able to document that they are employed at the shipyard. They report that they have no contract and that they do not know what their rights are as employees. This is one more issue that surprises the professor about Maersk’s actions, especially since the company’s standards explicitly emphasise how important it is that all workers have a contract and know their rights.
“When employees don’t have a contract, then they are not in a position to object if they feel that conditions are unsafe. Likewise, they won’t stop working even if they become seriously ill from torch cutting without a respirator, for example, as they apparently do.”
Hasle continues, “It seems that Maersk is using its standards as an image of how nice and tidy their shipbreaking operations are. But in reality, the standards are not being met at all.”
Again Maersk recognizes, that there are conditions that have not been in order, but that they have taken actions on this since Danwatch’s visit to the yard.
“The contractual situation is one of the factors that were not completely in order when we started our cooperation with Shree Ram, and which has recently been brought to order,” said Stube.

The Shree Ram shipyard declined to comment on the documentation collected by Danwatch. Maersk would not say when the company expects the shipyard to be in compliance with their standards.

Not a valid elementor page Not a valid elementor page ]]>
https://danwatch.dk/en/maersk-scraps-ships-at-dangerous-shipyards-in-india/feed/ 0
Maersk and the Hazardous Waste https://danwatch.dk/en/undersoegelse/maersk-and-the-hazardous-waste/ Sat, 08 Oct 2016 11:35:23 +0000 http://danwatch.dk/undersoegelse/maersk-and-the-hazardous-waste/