Jose Mauricio Pererira Coelho, President
Fernando Jorge Buso Gomes, Vice President
Marcio Hamilton Ferreira
Arthur Prado Silva
Marcel Juviniano Barros
Gilmar Dlilo Cezar Wanderley
Patricia G. M. de A. Benetes
Marcia Fragoso Soares
Eduardo de Oliveira Rodrigues Filho
Ivan Luiz Modesto Schara
Oscar Augusto de Camargo Filho
Johan Albino Ribeiro
Jose Luciano Duarte Penido
Hugo Serrado Stoffel
Iran da Cunha Santos
Adriano Cives Seabra
Marcelo Gasparino da Silva
Cc: Marcello Spinelli
An Open Letter to the Board of Directors of Vale SA
Dear Sirs and Madams:
The EPA is disappointed, but not surprised, that Vale is now seeking to shift blame to its ship operators for the toxic sulphur pollution created by the ships that your iron ore is carried on. It is now clear that Vale has no interest in cleaning up its act as one of the world’s leading polluters and will continue to cause the deaths of thousands of people each year due to your greedy and selfish actions.
We note that Vale has now dropped the pretense of environmental consciousness in your open support for ocean polluting scrubber systems. Your executive director of ferrous and coal, Marcello Spinelli, has recently been quoted in the maritime press bragging about the freight savings created by scrubber systems and shrugging off the pollution by saying that it is “a matter for ship operators to manage.”
As you are no doubt aware, and as published on Vale’s website, Vale owns a fleet of Valemax ships with scrubbers installed. Passing blame for the pollution created by scrubbers on your ships is unethical and dishonest. You own and control these ships and cannot blame others for your own unethical actions. The pollution produced by these ships is your responsibility and you will be held accountable for the trail of pollution, damage and deaths left in your wake.
As an exporter of millions of tons of iron ore and other materials each year you are similarly unable to pass blame for the pollution caused by scrubber systems as you have the power to dictate the environmental measures taken by the ship operators that carry your products. As is the case with approximately 90% of other responsible companies and exporters, you too could simply require ships that you use to carry your cargo burn IMO compliant fuels with a sulphur content of less than 0.5%, and ship operators and owners would comply with your requirements. The fact that you have no interest in using cleaner fuels is borne out of your extreme greed and corrupt practices.
For every ton of fuel burned by scrubber ships (for smaller sizes than the Valemaxes that you own/operate), 45 tons of TOXIC, hot, acidic, contaminated wastewater containing carcinogens including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heavy metals is dumped into the ocean. With a fleet of some of the largest ships in operation, the size of your scrubber systems will dump far in excess of 45 tons of toxic and polluted water into the world’s oceans for each ton of the sludgy high sulphur fuels you burn. This criminal damage to the world’s environment is yours and yours alone to bear.
Vale has a long history of mining disasters that have costs the lives of hundreds of people and caused catastrophic environmental damage. It now seems that Vale is willing to export the same catastrophic pollution you have created in Brazil around the world through your continued use of high sulphur fuels and ocean polluting scrubber systems. For Vale’s transparently empty environmental commitments to be taken seriously by anyone you must cease the use of scrubbers on its vessels and commit to no longer installing scrubbers on new ships. The ships that you choose to own and use to carry your products and materials have a profound impact on the environment and you cannot pass the blame off to others for your own misdeeds.
Vale’s greed and complete disregard for environmental responsibilities will no doubt come back to haunt you in the near future. With scrubbers proving to be an unreliable and expensive means for continuing to burn dirty fuels, it is only a matter of time before Vale is once again responsible for the deaths of thousands. While you will no doubt have no issue continuing to sleep at night as you cause untold damage to our planet, we are left to wonder how you can look your kids in the eye each day with your unethical and potentially criminal actions.
It is not too late for Vale to clean up its act and do the right thing by ceasing the use and installation of scrubber systems on your ships and to reform your practices, so you ship on vessels burning cleaner fuel. Indeed, Vale must take these actions if you hope to avoid the inevitable consequences of your decisions.
The Environmental Protection Alliance