KARACHI: Pakistan’s ship breaking industry demolished almost half of the global scrapped oil vessels during the last year, putting the country on the map of the world’s leading ship breakers, a United Nations body said on Monday.
In 2015, gross 1.169 million tons of scrapped oil vessels were sold for demolition around the world, said the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in its annual ‘Review of Maritime Transport 2016’. Of that, 540,000 tons of such vessels were moved to Pakistan for breaking.
Last week, an accident killed at least 17 people in a blast in a scrap oil vessel at the country’s biggest shipping yard in Gawain.
The review recorded 23 million tons of vessels – including oil and chemical tankers, bulk and gas carriers, offshore and ferries, container and passenger ships – sold for demolition around the world during the last year. “Most demolitions take place in Asia; four countries – Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and China – accounted for 95 percent of ship scrapping gross tonnage in 2015,” it said. “Pakistan had the highest share of oil tankers, India of container ships and Bangladesh of offshore.”
While developed countries account for 60 percent of global vessel ownerships, the share of developing countries is also increasing.
“The leading ship-owners among developing countries are in Asia, led by China and Singapore,” the report said. The largest ship owning countries in South Asia are in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
The UNCTAD advised the governments to identify and invest in maritime sectors in which their countries may have a comparative advantage.
“Supporting the maritime sector is no longer a policy choice. Rather, the challenge is to identify and support selected maritime businesses,” it said. “Policymakers need to carefully assess the competitive environment for each maritime subsector they wish to develop, and to consider the value-added of a sector for the state economy, including possible synergies and spillover effects into other sectors – maritime and beyond.”
The UN body said countries also differ with regard to the proportion of officers and ratings that work on board ships.