14 December 2017

Surge in number of accidents in Bangladesh shipbreaking yards

Until September the NGO Shipbreaking Platform had observed a decrease in the number of accidents in the shipbreaking yards in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Now however, the accident rate for the three first quarters of 2017 has surged with 8 injuries and 6 deaths recorded in ten separate incidents in the last two months alone.

On 23 October, Jalal, who worked as a cutter man, died struck by a cable at Arafin Enterprise, the yard where the product tanker LOBATO, owned by Petrobras, is currently being scrapped. Despite early warnings to the Brazilian government, the vessel was illegally exported from Brazil for dirty and dangerous scrapping on the beaches of South Asia and arrived in Chittagong in October. Shipbreaking worker Khalil died while working on an oil section of the Indonesian-owned tanker ECHO, beached at Ferdous Steel shipbreaking yard. One more worker was injured in that accident. Mizan, employed by Fahim Enterprise shipbreaking yard, lost his life on 14 November. He fell from the ship LABRI, sold for breaking by the Greek Polys Haji-Ioannou Group, after a fire broke out on the upper deck. Four more workers, who are now supposedly receiving treatment in the BSBA Hospital, suffered injuries due to a fire at Tania Enterprise shipbreaking yard. Moreover, during a nightshift on 4 December, Mojammel suffocated from inhaling toxic gases and then fell, dying on the spot. He was working at the SN Corporation yard on the ship INOX, owned by the Hong Kong-based HNA Group International. According to local sources, Mojammel and his colleagues were oddly sent to start breaking the vessel just a few hours after its beaching.

A local newspaper in Chittagong further revealed that the body of a worker, Harun Rashid, was found lifeless in a pond close to the PHP shipbreaking yard. Harun was a permanent staff member of PHP and was working as cutter helper. According to the attendance register, he was present and on duty on the day he was found dead. Harun’s cause of death has not yet been cleared by the police and, despite having paid a lump sum to Harun’s family, PHP’s representatives are silent about the incident. Still at PHP, another worker suffered an injury to his left leg and has spent the last three weeks in the BSBA Hospital for treatment.

Details on the remaining 2 injuries and the 1 death at the shipbreaking yards are still unclear.

In October, two major accidents also occurred in the steel re-rolling mills that are connected to the shipbreaking yards and where the steel from the ships are re-rolled into steel bars. According to the Bangladesh Insitute of Labour Studies (BILS), on 10 October 4 workers died in GPH Ispat, and less than a week later an accident at SARM re-rolling mill killed 1 worker and injured as many as 9.

“The working conditions in all the Chittagong shipbreaking yards are deplorable. Claims that the situation in the yards has somewhat improved are misleading: workers are still exposed to enormous risks and are killed because of the lack of basic safety procedures and infrastructure”, says Muhammed Ali Shahin, local contact of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.

Ship owners that sell their ships for dirty and dangerous breaking are now also being brought to court. On Sunday, The Guardian published an article exposing the human costs of shipbreaking in Bangladesh. Mohamed Edris, who also worked at Ferdous Steel, was severely injured in 2015 while cutting the EURUS LONDON, owned by Zodiac Maritime, and is now seeking compensation in the UK courts from the shipping company. It is the first time that an injured worker demands compensation from a ship owner directly. Zodiac Maritime took the commercial decision to recklessly sell the EURUS LONDON to a beaching yard with the only aim of making a maximum profit, thus consciously neglecting the human rights abuses that shipbreaking in Bangladesh entails. This case could set a precedent for other workers who want to bring the ultimate profit-makers of dangerous and polluting practices to justice.

So far this year, 51 out of the total 152 ships that have been beached in Chittagong are owned by European companies. Zodiac has continued to sell its ships to Bangladesh, despite the pending legal case against them, demonstrating that they have no consideration for causing harm as a result of their dirty business. Other big companies, such as Teekay, Berge Bulk and Costamare, have also unscrupulously sold ships to the Chittagong beach this year.

Source: hellenic shipping news. 07 December 2017

International Shipbreaking Ltd receives inaugural Chairman’s Award from Port of Brownsville

In recognition of commitment to community, economic development and leadership on the global stage, the Port of Brownsville presented its inaugural Chairman’s Award to International Shipbreaking, Ltd. (ISL) on Tuesday.

The Port of Brownsville will present the award each year to companies that have realized achievements in key areas, including business growth, leadership, job creation, customer service, innovation, safety, and community involvement.

“The Port of Brownsville succeeds when its tenants and users succeed,” Brownsville Navigation Chairman John Wood said. “The Chairman’s Award is an expression of appreciation and support for the efforts that our tenants put forth to make the port the leading economic engine of the Rio Grande Valley.”

A subsidiary of EMR Group, ISL offers dismantling and recycling services for the U.S. Navy, commercial ships, drilling rigs and other equipment. ISL has operated at the Port of Brownsville in southeast Texas since 1995. Today, the company employs more than 250 workers.

“Receiving the Port of Brownsville Chairman’s Award is a tremendous honor for me and all of our employees,” Chris Green, the president of ISL, said. “ISL and the EMR Group started with a vision for the Port of Brownsville ship recycling industry, and implementation of this vision has allowed us to provide a stable career for our employees and development of our site into the best marine recycling facility in the world.”

The award was presented to ISL at the Port of Brownsville’s annual customer recognition luncheon.

“We have just begun to implement our vision and will continue to raise the bar in this industry with regards to safety, environmental compliance and community involvement,” Green said.

Source: transportation today news. 07 December 2017

HERMOD HITS 200,000 OPERATING HOURS

One of the engines powering the semi-submersible crane vessel (SSCV) ‘Hermod’ has passed 200,000 operating hours.

Hermod, due to retire at the end of the year, is part of Heerema Marine Contractors’ fleet and is powered by 7 × MAN 16 ASV 25/30 engines, each with a power output of 2,900kW. Hermod’s engine 3 passed 200,000 operating hours in August, with the milestone marked by a recent celebration in Rotterdam.

Lex Nijsen, head of Four-Stroke Marine at MAN Diesel & Turbo, said: “Unit #3 is the first of Hermod’s engines to reach this impressive mark, and has done so without major problems. Indeed, I’m told the engine still has its original crankshaft and has never been out of service for unforeseen reasons.”

Mitsui-built

Hermod was built in Japan in 1978 by Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Company Ltd. At 154 × 86m, it is capable of a tandem lift of 8,100t and still ranks as the world’s third-largest heavy-lift vessel.

Celebrating the achievement of the SSCV in its engine-control room was current chief engineer, Jan Terpstra, alongside current and past representatives from both MAN Benelux and the SSCV’s engine-room personnel.

Engine 3 was constructed at MAN’s Augsburg works in Germany and underwent its first trial there in December 1977.

Present that day, almost 40 years ago, was Bram Sprokkereef in his capacity as Rollo service manager. Mr Sprokkereef was involved in the building and commissioning of the engine and Sprokkereef’s son – current MAN Benelux sales manager, Egbert Sprokkereef – was present in Rotterdam with his own sons to witness engine #3 round 200,000 hours.

Final journey

Hermod is currently being transported on Boskalis’ heavy transport vessel, ‘Dockwise Vanguard’, to China where the vessel will be broken up by the Chinese demolition yard, ‘Zhoushan Changhong International Ship Recycling Company’.

The breaking down process will be undertaken in accordance with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships and in line with the European Union Ship Recycling Regulation.

Source: maritime journal. 08 Dec 2017

Shipbreaking woes

India takes a welcome step to clean up the industry

India, which along with Bangladesh dismantles most of the world’s discarded ships, has done well to draft a legislation that sets labour safety and environment benchmarks for shipbreaking. The proposed law is aligned with the Hong Kong convention adopted by the International Maritime Organisation in 2009, so far ratified by Norway, Congo, France, Belgium, Panama and Denmark, but not by 15 other countries that make up 40 per cent of the world’s gross merchant shipping capacity. Given the state of affairs at Alang in Bhavnagar district, Gujarat, considered the world’s largest shipbreaking facility, it is high time such a law came into force. Alang houses at least 50 companies in ‘plots’ along a 12-14 km stretch along the sea coast, employing an estimated 40,000 workers, directly and indirectly (the latter includes ancillary industries that re-roll the steel scrap in adjoining factories). While there are no reliable records on accident deaths, the situation till recently is best captured by a chilling anecdote cited by the workers there: ‘one ship is dismantled, and one worker dies each day’. Alang and Chattogram (Bangladesh) have emerged as shipbreaking centres over the last 30 years after the rich countries found it costly to do so, and framed their own labour and environmental laws. In 2016, India dismantled over 300 ships, against about 220, 140 and 70 in the case of Bangladesh, Pakistan and China. But in terms of gross tonnage dismantled, Bangladesh is ahead at over nine million tonnes, against Alang’s eight million tonnes. Turkey and the EU are less significant players. Ships in India and Bangladesh are dismantled on the beach rather than on dry docks, which adds to the toxicity of the soil, water and air. ‘Beaching’ is banned under EU regulations, while the Hong Kong convention pushes for clean beaching practices.

Shipbreaking has taken a hit in recent years because of the slump in steel prices, and with it of recycled steel as well. A ship changes many owners as its lifespan of 25-30 years comes to an end, as a result of which owners wash their hands of the responsibility of ensuring that it is dismantled in a responsible way. Greece and Germany are top offenders in outsourcing their vessels to be beached. Efforts to clean up the industry should include bringing such grey activities under the scanner.

That said, the tide may be turning. A $76-million soft loan from Japan will help concretise the Alang coastline. Major corporates are setting aside funds to clean up the shipbreaking industry. The situation at Alang has improved of late, but what’s really called for is a complete break from toxic, hazardous practices.

Source: the hindu businessline. 08 December 2017

India on the verge of embracing modern-day shipbreaking practices

Asia: India has drafted legislation to implement the 2009 Hong Kong Convention for the proper recycling of ships, it was announced at the International Maritime Organisation's 30th Assembly Session in London.

India's Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari declared that plans are underway to implement sustainable shipbreaking practices in the country. India has introduced Shipbreaking Code 2013, he pointed out.

Gadkari observed that the Hong Kong Convention will enter into force when ratified by 15 states, representing 40% of the world merchant shipping. Thus far, the legislation has only been ratified by Norway, Congo, France, Belgium, Panama and Denmark.

'The recycling capacities of China plus Turkey plus the rest of the world is currently only 69% of the capacity required under the third condition of Hong Kong Convention. On the other hand, the combined capacities of China plus any one out of the three South Asian ship recycling countries meet the requirement of the third condition,' points out Dr. Nikos Mikelis, Non-executive Director of cash buyer GMS.

Source: recycling international. 06 Decemebr 2017