Brazil's CONTTMAF trade union federation, its member SINDMAR and several NGOs have jointly asked the Brazilian Government to stop the practice of beaching toxic ships in South Asia.

The organisations have condemned the shipbreaking exercises of Brazilian petroleum company Petrobras' oil and gas transportation subsidiary Transpetro, which is owned primarily by the State.

NGO Shipbreaking Platform claims that more than 20 vessels owned by Petrobras were dismantled on the beaches of India and Pakistan over the last five years.

It has also alleged that public money has been used to build most of the ships that ended up in South Asia, which are currently putting workers’ lives at risk and polluting the environment in developing countries.

Various maritime databases have also showed that at least six new units owned by Petrobras have already been sold for demolition, but are still being held within the Brazilian territorial waters.

"It is unacceptable that Petrobras and other Brazilian companies contribute to the deaths and environmental pollution in South Asia."

NGO Shipbreaking Platform communication and policy officer Nicola Mulinaris said: “It is unacceptable that Petrobras and other Brazilian companies contribute to the deaths and environmental pollution in South Asia.”

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The NGO further noted that newly published SINDMAR data has revealed that various other Brazilian companies are involved in the dangerous ship scrapping practices.

Brazilian metals and mining company Vale sold five ships to shipbreaking beaches in Bangladesh and Pakistan over the last two years, where at least 79 workers were severely injured and 55 died last year.

CONTTMAF, SINDMAR and the NGO Shipbreaking Platform have demanded stricter requirements against the public auctions of Petrobras’ end-of-life vessels with the aim of ensuring clean and safe ship recycling practices.