15 October 2018

Gujarat migrant crisis: In Bhavnagar's Alang ship breaking yard, it's business as usual for workers from UP, Bihar

Editor's Note: The rape of a 14-month-old girl by a migrant labourer from Bihar in Idar town of Sabarkantha district on 28 September gave way to the persecution of migrant labourers in seven of the 33 districts of Gujarat. This incident ignited anger against migrant workers whom the locals believe are the real reason for unemployment in the state. This multi-part series will examine issues concerning migrant workers and the animosity they face from locals.

Alang (Bhavnagar): Gujarat is a prosperous state with multiple industries that need to employ people from across states depending on their skill sets and working abilities. The resentment towards migrant labourers over lack of jobs for locals that led to violence in seven districts across north and central Gujarat over several days since 28 September, was not reciprocated in districts like Bhavnagar, where immigrant population constitutes an important part of the workforce and the economy.

One such industrial unit is world's largest ship-breaking and recycling yard at Alang in Bhavnagar district where business ran as usual while other districts like Vadodara, Ahmedabad, Mehsana and Gandhinagar witnessed violence. Located on the shore of Gulf of Cambay, the Alang ship breaking yard has 85-90 percent of its workforce from outside Gujarat, of which most workers are from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Workers on site at Alang ship breaking yard in Bhavnagar, Gujarat. Arvind Bhatti/101Reporters.com

Vipin Chaubey, a labour contractor who hails from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh and leads a team of around 400 workers at the yard, says the attacks on migrant labourers in northern part of Gujarat had no impact on around 10,000-12,000 odd migrant workers of the yard.

Alang ship breaking yard, which is around 30 kilometres from Bhavnagar and 230 kilometres from Ahmedabad, is spread on a stretch of around 10 km along the sea-shore. It has around 160 plots (units where ships are dismantled), which do not remain operational all at once; it depends on the work available. Each of these units employ around 200 workers and currently, about 80 units are operational.

"We are living peacefully here and there is no problem whatsoever to workers or any other person in Alang. We have not received any threats from anyone and no one has returned home from here. The police have also extended their support," Chaubey says.

Viping Chaubey at Alang Workers at Alang ship breaking yard. Hemrajsinh Vala/101Reporters.com

Along the road between Alang and Trapaj, a close-by village on the approach way, is a market for second hand goods taken out of dismantled ships, including catering equipment, furniture, etc. While this business is dominated by local Gujaratis who populate the town of Alang and nearby areas, most of the migrant workers reside in the yard itself.

Chaubey said that even when the incidents of attacks were at their peak in parts of north and central Gujarat, there was no feeling of discomfort in Alan.

"In Alang, no one is bothered about it (attacks on migrants). Although nothing untoward happened here, yet both the Superintendent of Police of Bhavnagar and Deputy SP of Mahuva visited the yard and assured all of us of our safety. They also shared numbers of police officials with us for use in case of any emergency," says Chaubey, adding that the migrant workers were told to inform the police immediately if they received any threatening or provoking messages on WhatsApp or other social media platforms.

Source: yahoo news. 13 October 2018

Seven laborers burnt as Gadani ship-breaking yard catches fire

HUB: A horrible incident of fire inside a ship of Gadani ship-breaking yard charred seven laborers on Sunday.

According to details, a non-functional ship parked at Gadani ship-breaking yard caught fire abruptly as a result of which seven laborers working inside were burnt, the condition of three is said to be critical.

According to police, the incident took place while cutting of an oil tanker inside the ship. The injured are being taken to Karachi for medical facilities, the police informed ARY News.

The fire brigade team is busy in extinguishing operation.

Yesterday, in a similar incident, five workers were killed after being roasted inside a ship and prior to that, a week ago, the very ship was set ablaze but no human loss or injury was reported.

In 2016, during cleaning of an oil tanker, a ship caught flames and took lives of 23 laborers working at the site.

Source: Ary News. 14 October 2018

19 September 2018

GMS Market Commentary on Shipbreaking in Week 37 - CURIOUS SPECULATION!

Some extraordinarily speculative sales were registered this week as a few Cash Buyers (ones rumored to have fresh access to funding) seem intent on bidding well ahead of the market, in anticipation of firming rates ahead. This move was probably initiated last week with the high priced sales of a Cape and a VLCC on an ‘as is’ basis, at some massive numbers that are certainly not reflective of current market realities. In fact, all markets have displayed worrying signs of a possible decline in preceding weeks, making much of the recent offerings highly confusing and risky for Ship Owners and Cash Buyers alike.

As it stands, Pakistan remains stuffed with tanker tonnage that have only recently received cutting permission, albeit only on a handful of the plethora of units that were beached several months ago. Furthermore, they have also been beset with an announcement of a ‘mini’ budget, the outcome of which local Buyers are waiting for.

Bangladesh has suffered a week of declines in local steel plate prices and has consequently dropped to lowest placed of all the subcontinent markets. L/C issues have also plagued the industry of late, with very few banks willing to sanction limits on the locally favored large LDT vessels such as VLCCs, Capes and Suezmax tankers.

Wrapping up the subcontinent news is the Indian Rupee, which continues to endure weeks of crippling depreciations in unprecedented and historical lows, trading well over Rs. 72 against the U.S. Dollar, finally settling a touch this week and bringing some much-needed positivity to the local market.

Finally, as China remains marooned in a Neverland of its own making, Turkey is probably the only market to report noteworthy positive gains in both fundamentals i.e. local steel plate prices as well as the Turkish Lira, resulting in firming levels this week.

For week 37 of 2018, GMS demo rankings / pricing for the week are as below.

Demo Rank
Dry Bulk USD/LDT
Containers USD/LDT
Tankers USD/LDT
USD 425/LT
USD 445 / LT
USD 435 / LT
USD 420/LT
USD 440/LT
USD 430/LT
USD 415/LT
USD 435/LT
USD 425/LT
USD 250/MT
USD 250/MT
USD 260 / MT

Source: steel guru. 18 Sep 2018

05 September 2018

Ship recycling company expects work to keep coming


In this file photo, the former Algoma Central Corp. vessel Algoway is towed into Port Colborne, headed for Marine Recycling Corp.'s yard on the east pier of the Welland Canal. In front is the tug Evans McKeil. - Dave Johnson,The Welland Tribune

With five vessels currently awaiting or undergoing recycling, Marine Recycling Corp. founder Wayne Elliott doesn't see work coming to an end at any time soon in Port Colborne.

"We believe there's work in Canada for us for the next 20 years and beyond," said Elliott in an interview during a tour of the facility on the east pier at the entrance of the Welland Canal.

"We're pretty busy."

The five vessels at the yard include the cement carrier Paul H. Townsend, formerly part of the Inland Lakes Management fleet; the cement carrier English River, formerly part of the Lafarge Ltd. fleet; the medium-sized self-unloading bulk carriers Algorail and Algoway, formerly part of Algoma Central Corp.'s fleet; and the Princess of Acadia, a roll-on/roll-off passenger and motor vehicle ferry that travelled between Digby, N.S. and Saint John, N.B.

In addition to Port Colborne, the company's yard in Sydney, N.S. is busy with recycling vessels as well.

"We're currently focused on warships there … still working some of those and looking at other government bids. We're good and busy."

Elliott's start in the ship recycling business began when he started working summers with his father.

"My dad started with another family in Hamilton in 1959. I learned how to run a crane and use a torch."

In 1983, father and son teamed up and started their own company, carrying out ship conversion work for Upper Lakes Shipping in Hamilton first.

"We came to Port Colborne and started ship breaking … Upper Lakes was our partner at the time. We went on until 1990 when at that point we had cleaned up all of the surplus ships available."

For that seven-year period work was carried out on the east pier of the Welland Canal.

"We went dormant until 1993, and then started up again and have been going ever since."

From 1994 to 1997 recycling work was carried out at a yard off the Grand River in Port Maitland, and from 1997 on the company has been operating in Port Colborne.

"We worked on two submarines and a naval destroyer at Port Maitland."

Elliot said the Port Colborne yard will continue to be busy with at least 12 lakers he knows of slated for recycling, which would take them to the next round of lakers down the road.

"We're here to stay in the lakes and on the East Coast and look forward to another generation of work."

In addition to lakers and naval vessels, Elliott said a new stream of marine recycling through the federal government's abandoned and wrecked vessel program could one day help the company.

"We've heard different numbers … there could be 2,000 abandoned vessels in Canada, mostly pleasure craft, sailboats, wooden boats, plastic boats. Many are sunk or tied to a dock and abandoned."

Figuring out how to deal with and recycle those vessels is something Marine Recycling Corp. is consulting with with federal agencies like Transport Canada, Public Works, Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

"Department of Fisheries and the Coast Guard have their own vessels that need to be retired and recycled … vessels beyond their ideal date of service."

Elliott said in talks with the federal government, the company has been encouraged to set up on Canada's West Coast and is exploring its options and potential locations.

"There hasn't been a ship recycling company out there for the last 25 years. There are a lot of ships out there, ferries and other vessels and there are no options for recycling them."

He said there's no way to justify an ocean tow across the Pacific to recycling yards in Asia, and added Canada has decided its own vessels won't leave the country to be recycled.

Elliott said Chinese yards will stop taking foreign vessels and that many of those yards took a big hit like Marine Recycling did when the scrap market crashed in 2015 reaching an all-time 50 year low.

"The Chinese will only do Chinese-flagged vessels now," he said, adding many of yards there were doing things right when it came to safety and the environment.

Elliott said taking apart and recycling a ship is not easy and there are many precautions around safety and the environment that come into play.

Work on the Princess of Acadia in terms of asbestos abatement will cost the company at least $1 million.

"It's one of the largest asbestos abatement jobs we've ever hard. We knew that at bid time though. We do a thorough inspection of the vessels. The single biggest thing in our experience in terms of both the time it takes and the cost is asbestos, it always has been.

"We're really an environmental company," he said.

In addition to asbestos, Marine Recycling crews have to be aware of and properly remove and dispose of things PCBs, oils, fuel, chemicals, grease, and paint. Samples and testing programs are carried out so the company knows what it is dealing with inside a vessel.

"There's a format we go through."

Having vessels docked along the canal makes it easier for crews to get on board and remove everything that needs to be before a ship is ever cut apart.

In places like Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, vessels are broken on the shore with the vessel still in the water and the stern, where many potential contaminants are located, the last piece to be recycled, said Elliott.

"Alongside the docks here we can deal with the pollutants first."

As to why companies, including Canadian ones, will sell their vessels for scrap overseas to scrapyards in countries like Turkey, it comes down to money.

"They can pay more and absorb the ocean tow, which I find surprising."

The rules in terms of both safety and the environment are lax as compared to Canada, as are the wages, he added.

"We can never compete with the low wages and conditions of those yards. We can't change our standards or cutback when it comes to safety and the environment … it's against our company culture."

Elliott said safety is taken very seriously at both recycling yards, it comes first.

"We can't have our people injured. Our guys are very conscious and aware of what they are doing. One day there may be a stairway heading down (inside a ship) and the next it might be gone."

The most serious incident involving an employee and injury in Port Colborne took place in 2004. A chain anchor moved and trapped the 21-year-old man inside. It took Port Colborne Fire and Emergency Services and firefighters from Buffalo Fire Department's heavy rescue company five hours to free the man, who ended up with a broken lower leg and foot.

Elliott said every precaution is taken when employees are dealing with the removal of various contaminants, as well.

"We remove things that our guys could snag and rip their environmental suits on during asbestos removal."

He said that's why people may not see much in the way of progress when a vessel is brought in to Port Colborne.

There are up to 25 employees working to remove everything inside first.

"It could take months and months and the shape of the ship doesn't change. There's a method to our madness of how we work in the yard."

Weather also plays a part when it comes to taking apart the vessels.

"We have to tie them up like there's a hurricane coming. We have 300-ton capacity cranes and we have to watch when we are lifting and moving very large pieces … they act like sails."

Elliott said the company has an expansion plan for the Port Colborne yard and is working with the city and St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. to use more of the land on the pier.

That plan, he said, would allow the company to take more work on as it develops new technology to take apart the ships. Part of the plan would also see mostly whole vessels pulled from the water and taken apart on land.

"This is something we have been working on for a long time. Our main constraint here is berth space."

As to where all of the scrap metal goes once on shore, Elliott said for the next couple years it will head to Stelco's Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke. The steel from the vessels is a mild steel the company can use.

"Our non-ferrous metals go to other Canadian metal manufacturers. We've had these relationships for a long time."

Source: the standards. 03 September 2018

Making business do the right thing - NGO Shipbreaking


The vast majority of ship owners do not take responsible decisions when getting rid of their old ships. Instead, they sell their vessel to scrap dealers known as cash buyers. These companies, such as GMS, Wirana and Best Oasis, offer ship owners the highest price – in cash – for end-of-life vessels. They will manage the ship on its last voyage, as well as rename and reflag it, often to the worst performing flags in the world as part of their business model. Registering also the ships under anonymous post box companies, it becomes challenging for authorities to hold cash buyers accountable for their illicit business practices. Ship owners, on the other hand, will claim that their responsibility ended once the deal was concluded with the cash buyer.

Ship owners’ evident lack of due diligence when selling to cash buyers is, however, starting to concern not only law enforcers, but also the clients and the financers of shipping. Companies are increasingly asked to make sure that their business, including their supply chain, does not breach international human rights standards and does not cause harm to the environment.

Faced with this demand – and often with a much more public profile than most ship owners – banks, pension funds and consumer brands, upon which international shipping depends, are taking steps to require responsible ship recycling.


The Platform has continued to name and shame companies that do not have responsible practices at end-oflife and was invited in 2017 to share its findings and opinions at a number of industry conferences and meetings.

We have continued to explore market-based financial incentives and have focused our efforts on introducing a market-based program to change company behaviour to a wide range of stakeholders, collecting and processing valuable feedback. Companies have so far been very receptive to the positive reinforcement approach, juxtaposed by the Platform’s other campaign work. We also extended our outreach to other NGO’s, associations, and environmental programs to explore strategic partnership opportunities with those that are already well established in the marketplace. By denouncing the double standard and green-washing of dirty and dangerous shipbreaking practices that would never be allowed in the major ship owning countries, the Platform has been able to counter the arguments of the shipping industry and cash buyers that wish to exploit workers and the environment for the sake of higher profits. The proliferation of the misleading Statements of Compliance with the Hong Kong Convention has in that context been raised as a serious concern.


We have continued our discussions with the clients of shipping as well as the financial sector, and were successful in prompting a closed roundtable discussion between the Dutch banks ING, ABN AMRO and NIBC and progressive Scandinavian investors, including pension fund KLP, and major shipping banks DNB and Nordea. The banks now work jointly to promote responsible ship recycling and negotiate clauses to that aim in the loan agreements they sign with shipping companies.

KLP and Norges Bank, which manages the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, have divested from four shipping companies, including container-liner

Evergreen, that have sold ships to the beaching yards. The financial institutions rely on the Platform’s data to screen the companies/holdings that they invest in or provide loans to, and use the information we provide on conditions at the yards in South Asia.


In discussion with lawyers, NGOs and United Nations representatives, the Platform has contributed to the ongoing debate on Business and Human Rights. Compensations claims put forward, and investor divestments have clearly identified the responsibility of shipping companies to ensure the safe and clean recycling of their assets, and the Platform has raised with ship owners the necessity of exercising due diligence when choosing business partners linked to their operations, including at end-of-life. By engaging with ship recycling facilities directly and promoting best practice, the Platform also informs the shipping industry of clean and safe options available.

Source: steel guru. 24 August 2018