Trade Unions and non-government organisations have protested following the move by the Italian classification society RINA to issue the PHP shipbreaking yard in Bangladesh with a Statement of Compliance with the Hong Kong Convention.
The NGO Shipbreaking Platform, of Brussels, said trade unions in Bangladesh, as well as the Platform’s member Bangladesh Institute for Labour Studies, are concerned that this move sets a dangerous precedent for workers and the environment as they are not protected as long as ships are broken up on the beach, and as long as fundamental labour rights and proper infrastructure are not secured.
PHP is run by a business family in Chittagong, who are also involved in the steel rolling and construction industries, and owns TV channels.
“It is shocking that a company that rejects legitimate trade union activities can be stamped as operating in line with international laws. The Hong Kong Convention clearly fails in setting standards that will protect workers,” claimed Nazim Uddin, a local trade union leader.
Ingvild Jenssen, director and founder of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, said: “That a beaching yard in Chittagong is able to comply with the Hong Kong Convention tells us a lot about the standard set by the International Maritime Organization.