Today, Bangladesh is known for its hazardous and polluting shipbreaking trade but that need not be the case in the future, the whole industry could be turned around over time. Better IMO regulations on Flags of Convenience (FOC) for end of life ships, proper finance and a vision of the future that includes Bangladesh as a green shipping leader can make. Bangladesh has a ship building industry. Ships have been built in Bangladesh for centuries, the British Royal Navy even built ships in Bangladesh.
Bangladesh needs to become a leading builder of greener ships. Green ships are built to be recycled before they are even built, planning for efficient dismantling in the end of life phase of the ship. Green ship design reduces the hazardous materials used in the new builds and minimizes waste in all phases of construction.
The shipyards that build the ships can also be the drydocks that dismantle and recycle them. Beaching ships for ship breaking is not going to stop any time soon. There are too many moving parts to bring a halt to the practice today. However, if there is enough motivation and financial incentive, it can be done. Authorities like the IMO need to provide stricter guidance, governance and loopholes must be closed.
Why should the EU listed yards get all the recycling business? Bangladesh can use the same or similar recycling guidelines and compete with the EU ship recyclers.
Eventually ship breaking from the beaches of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan will be a thing of the past. Too many obstacles are there to make it sustainable, enforced regulation and capital for new infrastructure can turn the tide. Bangladesh can become a leading green ship builder / drydock recycler in South Asia and compete with the EU listed recyclers.