The Norwegian Central Bank has announced plans to exclude shipowners Evergreen Marine, Precious Shipping, Korea Line and Thorensen Thai Agencies from receiving any investments under the Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) programme.

The decision has been influenced by the companies’ poor performance regarding the management of their end-of-life ships, as well as their practice of selling vessels for polluting and hazardous shipbreaking on the beaches of Gadani, Pakistan, and Chittagong, Bangladesh.

Shipbreaking activities of this kind are reportedly causing severe environmental damage and resulting in serious human rights violations.

The latest decision also follows a directive from the GPFG’s managing entity, the Norwegian Council on Ethics.

"This is the first time that shipping companies have been excluded from an investment fund based on their poor shipbreaking practices."

GPFG is considered to be the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world and currently owns approximately 1% of all global investments.

NGO Shipbreaking Platform founder and director Ingvild Jenssen said: “This is the first time that shipping companies have been excluded from an investment fund based on their poor shipbreaking practices, and coming from the largest investment fund in the world, it sends out a strong signal to all financial institutions to follow suit.”

According to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, Evergreen, Korea Line, Precious Shipping and Thoresen Thai Agencies sold a combined total of 20 ships to beaching facilities across South Asia over the last three years.

Furthermore, the Norwegian Council on Ethics is currently investigating a South Korean shipping company known as Pan Ocean in relation to possible violations of shipbreaking norms.