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Thread: Ship-breaking

  1. #1
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    Ship-breaking

    Ship-breaking conundrum
    10-03-2010


    Ship breakers in Bangladesh are steadfast in their demands to cancel a policy that denies the entry of ships with toxic elements, but environmentalists are viewing this as an acid test for the government's firmness to save the environment.
    (Bangladesn is one of the countries where ship-breaking is still a major industry despite environmental protests.)

    The stalemate in the ship-breaking sector set in after the government issued a statutory regulatory order (SRO) on January 26, amending the import policy that makes it mandatory for ship importers to submit pre-cleaning certificates for ship imports.

    A certificate ensures that a ship, which is going to enter the country's maritime territory, does not contain toxic elements.

    But after enforcement of the SRO, ship breakers called a strike on February 21 at the ship breaking yards and also stopped the supply of scrap to the re-rolling mills, saying the labour intensive sector will lose global competitiveness if the SRO remains. The strike was called off on Thursday, giving the government a week to cancel the SRO. The workers of the yards also joined the strike.

    The ship breakers are the major suppliers of scrap to over 250 local re-rolling mills.

    They said it was not possible to manage a pre-cleaning certificate from the ship owners as ship ownership changes from time to time. They argued that as a ship moves from sea to sea, it will be difficult for an owner to clean the ship.

    "If a ship of Greek ownership is sold to a Bangladeshi buyer when it is at the Mumbai Port, the ship will have to go to Greece to manage a cleaning certificate," said Anam Chowdhury, a consultant of Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association (BSBA).

    He said the whole process will make ship-breaking costly for Bangladesh and shift the business away.

    "It is a global conspiracy to soil the prospective ship breaking industry of Bangladesh," BSBA Vice President Kamal Uddin told The Daily Star by phone on Sunday.

    Chowdhury said: "As ship breaking is emerging as a prospective sector globally, some European countries also started the trade.”

    “But since they won’t buy ships at the high rate we purchase at, they began conspiring against us," he claimed.

    The ship-scrapping site on the stretch of beaches at Sitakunda in Chittagong is the largest ship breaking industry in the world that engages some 30,000 workers. The country imported 172 ships for breaking last year while the number was 200 in 2008.

    The $700 million industry produces 1.5 million tonnes of scrap a year.

    While the Basel Convention, which is ratified by Bangladesh, prohibits inter-boundary movement of toxic elements and sludge, such as mercury and asbestos, Chowdhury said, the International Maritime Organisation sponsored the controversial treaty on ship breaking that allows trans-boundary movement of such wastes.

    The 'Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships 2009' attracted huge criticism from environmentalists and labour leaders, as an unclean ship provides an inventory of hazardous materials aboard before it is sent for recycling.
    On the plus, the convention calls for workers to be equipped with a wide range of protective gear that the ship breakers do not follow.

    "After buying a ship, we have to give it to a contactor for dismantling. They engage workers to do it. So the responsibility lies on the contactor to manage all kinds of safety equipment and training," the BSBA vice president said.

    He said ship breakers provide millions of dollars in duties to the government, which should be used by the government to establish training facilities for the workers.

    Lambasting ship breakers for their contribution to sea and environment pollution, environmentalists welcomed the SRO and urged the government not to succumb to pressure from the breakers.

    They said no ship breaking yard in Chittagong has any environmental clearance to operate and they discharge different toxic elements into the seas and cause damage to marine life.

    Citing a report styled 'The Human Cost of Breaking Ships' published in December 2008, simultaneously from Bangladesh, India and Switzerland, at least 1,000 workers died in the last 20 years in Bangladesh's ship-breaking yards. The figures do not include the deaths from diseases caused by toxic fumes and the materials workers are exposed to all the time.

    "It is an international practice that ship owner should clean the ship before sale for dismantling," said Mohammad Ali Shahin, Bangladesh Coordinator of NGO Platform on Shipbreaking.

    He said four to five countries are major players in the global ship breaking industry, with Bangladesh ranking first in 2009. Other countries include India, China, Vietnam and Pakistan.

    "All the countries, excluding Bangladesh, buy clean ships," said Shahin, adding that the guidelines to scraping old ships are very strict in China.
    He said as Bangladesh is the leading ship breaker, the country can take a leading role in global practices on ship breaking.

    Environmental activists also found it very peculiar that ship breakers are tense over importing ships with pre-cleaning certificates, although it lies mainly on the ship owners.

    The import of ships with toxic sludge on board should not be allowed as it causes fatal accidents, such as explosions during breaking of the ships, causing human casualties, they added.

    Taslima Islam, senior lawyer of Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA), said ship breaking is a dangerous job that causes huge fatalities every year. In the last 11 years till 2009, there were 60 reported deaths at shipyards, she said. "But many deaths go unreported and those who die from injuries at shipyards, are not included in the toll."
    Besides, explosions cause impacts on the workers that they bear till the last day of their lives.

    "The element asbestos is so lethal that if any worker inhales it even once, he will certainly be affected by cancer later in life," she said.

    A worker at a ship breaking yards said, "As gas is invisible, we have to understand through smell whether any unit of a ship contains explosive gases. Only with many years of experience, a skilled worker can understand whether the ship contains explosive gases. But often, newer workers fail to detect the presence of gases, causing explosions."

    He also said the ship breakers compelled the workers to join the protests against the government and NGOs to cancel the SRO.

    But Taslima Islam of BELA said: “We are not against breaking ships. We want that the workers can work in a clean environment.”

    asianewsnet.net







    there but for the Grace of God........................

    .

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    Turkish town becomes "ship demolition center" of Europe
    Friday, 05 November 2010

    Simsek said that Turkey did not accept problematic and dangerous vessels, nuclear wastes or ships with asbestos for disposal.

    Izmir's Aliaga town, which is known as Turkey's one and only ship breaking yard, have been attracting numerous European firms since last year with its modern ship demolition facilities, officials told AA on Friday.

    A total of 127 ships, mostly coming from European countries, were demolished at the ship breaking yard in Aliaga in 2009 while 187 vessels have been disposed in the region in the first 10 months of 2010, officials said.

    Adem Simsek, chairman of Ship Recyclers' Association of Turkey (GEMISANDER), said that ship demolition facilities in Aliaga had been modernized, remarkable activities had been carried out regarding health and safety conditions at work and a 10 million USD investment had been made for protection against pollution.

    Simsek said European maritime firms preferred Aliaga ship breaking yard thanks to the Aegean town's environment-friendly facilities.

    The chairman noted that nearly 1,800 people were employed at Aliaga ship breaking yard, adding 152,757 tons of ships had been demolished in the region in 2008 while such figure had risen to 297,881 tons in 2009.

    "During the first 10 months of 2010, 187 ships weighing 333,280 tons in total have been scrapped in Aliaga. Our goal is to reach 425,000 tons until the end of the year. We aim to recycle 98 percent of the ships sent to our region," he said.

    Simsek said 5-6 countries currently dealt with ship demolition, however, none of them made progress in terms of Europe's environmental standards.

    "Turkey is the only country among them which totally acts in accordance with environmental regulations and EU standards," he noted.

    Simsek also said that Turkey did not accept problematic and dangerous vessels, nuclear wastes or ships with asbestos for disposal.

    worldbulletin.net

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    The ship-scrapping site on the stretch of beaches at Sitakunda in Chittagong is the largest ship breaking industry in the world that engages some 30,000 workers.
    the above has been bothering me for a while , it's simply not true .

    Alang located on the western coast of Gulf of Cambay, in the western part of India, is the largest ship-recycling yard in the world. Ever since its inception in 1982, Alang has emerged as one of the choicest ship-scrapping destinations for the ship owners around the world. Hundreds of ships from all over the world find their final resting place in Alang every year.

    Alang Ship Breaking Yard

    Alang Ship Breaking Yards -- Sightseeing with Google Satellite Maps

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    Appalling stuff.

    Yet the most expensive house in the world is being shown off in central Mumbai.

    I despair.

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    Four workers die in an explosion in Bangladesh shipbreaking yard
    G. Manicandan
    Jan 24, 2011

    Four workers were killed in a fatal explosion at Mak Corporation shipbreaking yard in Sitakunda, Chittagong, Bangladesh. IMF calls on the government of Bangladesh to ensure that those responsible be brought to justice.

    BANGLADESH: On January 18, 2011, four workers died and another suffered critical burns in a huge explosion at Mak Corporation shipbreaking yard in Sitakunda, Chittagong, Bangladesh. According to reports the explosion, which occurred while dismantling of the fuel tanker of the ship, was heard two miles away. The impact of explosion was so massive that a worker, Miraj, 18, who died in the hospital, was thrown 100 meters away. He joined the company just three days earlier.

    Bodies of ship breaking workers Liton, 35, and Jubayed, 22, were recovered from the explosion site after fire-fighters stopped the fire. Miraj, with 100 percent burns died at 2:30pm, while the other worker Rubel, 25, died 15 minutes later at the Chittagong Medical College Hospital. Another injured worker is undergoing treatment with 50 per cent burns to his body and his colleague with minor injuries was released after first aid.

    Subsequently, the High Court on January 19 passed suo moto orders directing the government to stop all kinds of scrapping of ships in the country until further orders. The High Court bench ordered to move the unclean hazardous ships from the beach. The court also issued a contempt of court against the owner of the shipbreaking yard, Master Abul Khasem, vice-president of the Ship Breakers Owners' Association and the concerned official and summoned them to appear before it on January 28.

    The court also ordered the Chittagong Port Authority to form a three-member expert committee within seven days to investigate the explosion at Sitakunda.

    According to newspaper reports, as many as 30 workers were killed and 16 others were maimed in the last 21 months in 16 explosions in Sitakunda shipbreaking yards. In addition, many others have suffered minor injuries and their number was not recorded by anyone.

    It is ironical to note that despite the ban order by the High Court on March 17, 2009 the Department of Environment gave temporary clearance certificate to Master Kashem, owner of MAK Corporation to import hazardous ships for dismantling in December 2010.

    In March 2009 the High Court ordered the government to close all shipbreaking yards running without environmental clearance within two weeks and prohibited unloading from the ships that were already imported. It also directed the government to keep imported ships available for government scrutiny. It ordered that no ship would enter the Bangladesh territory without cleaning its toxins at source or outside the territory of Bangladesh. Later the Supreme Court stayed the high court order for closing the yards but sustained all other aspects of the order. Even though the court had directed the government not to allow any new yard to start the operation without clearance certificate, the number of shipbreaking yards has increased from 36 to over 100 since then.

    In addition, the court directed the Ministry of Environment and Forest to frame rules on shipbreaking based on the government of Bangladesh's commitments under the Basel Convention, 1989, the Environment Conservation Act, 1995 and the Environment Conservation Rules, 1997.
    According to the reports of The Daily Star, under the existing environmental laws it is mandatory for shipbreaking yards to obtain environmental clearance certificate, but large number of them are operating without clearance. According to reports, there are 50 shipbreaking yards that have applied for clearance certificates without proper structures or modern facilities for dismantling ships.

    Bangladesh Metalworkers' Federation and Bangladesh Metalworkers League launched a police compliant against the shipbreaking yard owner and called on the government to ensure those responsible for the incident are brought to justice.

    imfmetal.org

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    Dutch shamed on unregulated ship breaking
    17 January 2012



    The Netherlands is among the ‘top five’ European Union countries when it comes to the unregulated dumping of old ships to be scrapped on beaches in South East Asia, say campaigners.


    Twelve old ships whose last owners were Dutch companies ended up in India in 2011, according to the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition of international human rights and environmental organisations.

    The group campaigns for the sustainable scrapping of end-of-life ships. It has released a list of the ‘top ten’ EU countries, where companies are guilty of selling old ships to be gutted on the beaches of South East Asia.

    Toxic waste

    After about 30 years, a ship is no longer of use as a sea-going vessel and is sold for scrap, which includes the steel making up much of its structure. Each year around 800 old ships are scrapped, many of them on the beaches of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

    Shipbreaking Platform complains that international regulations for the safe disposal of the toxic waste left by the process- this includes asbestos, oil and heavy metals - are rarely complied with in these countries. Wages are low and the work is often hazardous, with injury and even death among workers a regular occurrence. Local environmental damage is also considerable, according to the group.

    It is pushing for the Netherlands and the European Commission to improve compliance with the international regulations. Shipbreaking Platform says alternatives do exist and that the sustainable scrapping of ships takes place in many parts of the world, for instance in China.

    rnw.nl

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    Environment: Commission proposes tighter laws on ship breaking

    Brussels, 23 March 2012 – The European Commission today proposed new rules to ensure that European ships are only recycled in facilities that are safe for workers and environmentally sound. More than 1000 large old commercial ships, such as tankers and container vessels, are recycled for their scrap metal every year, but many European ships end up in substandard facilities on the tidal beaches of South Asia. These facilities mostly lack the environmental protection and safety measures needed to manage the hazardous materials contained in end-of-life ships. These include asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), tributyl tin and oil sludge. This leads to high accident rates and health risks for workers and extensive environmental pollution.

    Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "Although the ship recycling sector has improved its practices, many facilities continue to operate under conditions that are dangerous and damaging. This proposal aims to ensure that our old ships are recycled in a way that respects the health of workers as well as the environment. It is a clear signal to invest urgently in upgrading recycling facilities.” Commissioner Potočnik presented the regulation jointly with Vice President Siim Kallas, Commissioner for Transport.

    The new rules, which will take the form of a Regulation, propose a system of survey, certification and authorisation for large commercial seagoing vessels that fly the flag of an EU Member State, covering their whole life cycle from construction to operation and recycling.

    This system builds upon the Hong Kong Convention for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships, which was adopted in 2009. Today's proposal aims to implement the Convention quickly, without waiting for its ratification and entry into force, a process which will take several years. To speed up the formal entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, the Commission also presented today a draft decision requiring Member States to ratify the Convention.

    Under the new system, European ships will have to draw up an inventory of the hazardous materials present on board, and apply for an inventory certificate. The amount of hazardous waste on board (including in cargo residues, fuel oil, etc.) must be reduced before the ship is delivered to a recycling facility.

    Ship recycling facilities will have to meet a set of environmental and safety requirements in order to be included on a list of authorised facilities world wide. European ships will be allowed to be recycled only in facilities on the list. Some of the requirements to be met by the ship recycling facilities are stricter than those foreseen by the Hong Kong Convention. This will ensure better traceability for European ships, and will guarantee that the waste resulting from dismantling (and any hazardous materials it contains) is managed in an environmentally sound way.

    To ensure compliance, the proposal requires ship owners to report to national authorities when they intend to send a ship for recycling. By comparing the list of ships for which they have issued an inventory certificate with the list of ships which have been recycled in authorized facilities, authorities will be able to spot illegal recycling more easily. The sanctions proposed in the Regulation will also be more specific and precise.

    Next Steps

    The Council and the European Parliament will now discuss the Commission proposal.

    Background

    At present, the recycling of ships is governed by the Waste Shipment Regulation, which prohibits the export of hazardous waste to non-OECD countries. However, the existing legislation is not specifically designed for ships and is often circumvented. This stems from a lack of adequate recycling capacity in OECD countries – but it is also difficult to determine when a ship becomes waste and which country is exporting the ship. The new proposal aims to address the shortcomings of this legislation and to allow, under strict conditions, the recycling of EU-flagged ships in non-OECD countries.

    In 2009, more than 90 % of European ships were dismantled in ship recycling facilities in non-OECD countries, some of which were substandard. The quantity of European end-of-life ships is significant, since 17 % of world tonnage is registered under an EU flag. This makes it a priority for the EU to improve ship dismantling practices worldwide.

    Highly concerned about the negative health and environmental impacts of ship recycling, the Commission adopted an EU strategy for better ship dismantling on 19 November 2008. This strategy proposed a number of measures to improve ship recycling as soon as possible, without waiting for the entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention. Today's proposal builds on ideas contained in the strategy.

    The Hong Kong Convention needs to be ratified by at least 15 major flag and recycling countries to enter into force. These countries should represent at least 40 % of the world fleet and a significant part (almost 50 %) of the recycling capacity available worldwide.

    Further information:
    Ship dismantling - Environment - European Commission

    europa.eu

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