30 June 2011

ATHENIAN Shipbrokers S.A. Monthly Demolition Report for June 2011:

Demolition Prices:

Gen Cargo
(USD /lt Ldt)
(USD /lt Ldt)

Demolition Historical Average Prices:

Total Demolition:1981 to 2011 (June)

Source: Hellenic Shipping News (Sourced from ATHENIAN Shipbrokers S.A. www.atheniansa.gr). 30 June 2011

A Sea Shadow of its former self! 007-style stealth ship that cost $195m to build is heading for the junk yard

It was the inspiration behind the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies, but Die Another Day might be more appropriate - and that day is coming soon.

After two decades of experimentation, the Navy has decided to get rid of the Sea Shadow, the 007-style, stealth ship. The plan was to salvage the ship by getting someone to buy it and put it on display. But after spending 5 years since 2006 and millions of dollars searching, the Navy has given up hope of finding any museum to take it. Navy spokesman Chris Johnson said the ship's fate is all but sealed.

The Sea Shadow, made in secrecy, stored in secrecy and constructed for secrecy, once cost the United States Navy $195 million to build and operate. Now it appears to be destined for the junk heap.

Completed in 1985 by the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency and Lockheed Martin, it was the Navy’s first experimental stealth ship. At 160ft long and 70ft wide, the Sea Shadow has a maximum speed of 14 knots and has the ability to operate in Sea State 5 conditions, or winds from 17 to 21 knots. But it was never intended for missions, just for testing. The craft was built to examine application of stealth technology on naval missiles.

The Sea Shadow now berths inside the rusting hulk of the Hughes Mining Barge, a fully submersible dry dock at the Navy's Mole Pier in San Diego, California. The dry dock keeps the ship safely hidden from spy satellites and from public view.

At just 26 years old, the ship could be saved by a last-minute taker. But in reality, a ship-dismantling company is likely to come along and sell the metal on the open market.

Source: Daily Mail. 19 June 2011

28 June 2011

GMS weekly report on shipbreaking industry for WEEK 25 of 2011:

With the decline across the international recycling markets still seeming like it would continue in the coming weeks, the temporary slowdown seemed to offer a brief opportunity for a few sales to take place this week. But with a continued (expected) fall in the coming weeks, we wonder what the upcoming deliveries would have had in store for cash buyers.

Whilst prices were never expected to dip below the USD 450/LT LDT mark, prices have still come off some USD 25-30/ton over the last couple of weeks and hits across the board have been felt for vessels being delivered post decline (many renegotiations are being reported at the waterfront).

Many cash buyers have therefore been presented with challenging situations in a declining market with many end users using every trick in the book (usually by over scrutinizing vessels and documents onboard down to the most miniscule of details, to look for discrepancies/angles out) in order to try and knock the price down. In scenarios such as these, the reputation of the cash buyer and their influence locally at being able to diffuse such squabbles, is becoming an invaluable part of the deal.

However, with the mooted closure in Bangladesh on the horizon (although rumors circulating this week suggest that this may not eventually occur) and monsoon season still left with some way to run, it may be that further falls are in order before the market settles at a discernable/stable level.

As such, the levels in the Indian sub continent remained as they were from last week with Bangladesh just about leading the way. The only market with any sort of downward tendency was the Chinese market as fears once again surfaced of a correction in sight.

For week 25 of 2011, GMS demo rankings for the week are as below:

Market Sentiment
USD 495/lt ldt
USD 520/lt ldt
USD 480/lt ldt
USD 475/lt ldt
USD 500/lt ldt
USD 440/lt ldt
USD 460/lt ldt

Source: Steel Guru (Sourced from GMS Weekly). Tuesday, 28 June 2011

GMS weekly report on BANGLADESH shipbreaking industry for WEEK 25 of 2011:

The inevitable slowdown finally began to take its toll in Bangladesh with no market sales registering for the second week n a row. It may be too late to conclude deals to arrive before the anticipated/expected closure of 7th July.
After the losses experienced during the closure around the anticipated {yet delayed) around early March, most cash buyers were unwilling to take a risk on vessels arriving after July 7th, especially since it remains uncertain how long the market may remain open or finally end up closed.

Levels continued to dip below USD 500/LT LDT on the dry front with tankers that have been gas freed for hot works receiving a significant premium (Bangladesh still remains a location in love with dirty trading wet tonnage).

With an anticipated closure on the horizon, it may be that levels improve ever so slightly before the next tide on any prompt units due to a desire by end buyers to beach vessels before the deadline. With a cancelling of at least 5th July needed, due to time needed for inward clearance procedures, only those vessels extremely close to Chittagong need apply!

Source: Steel Guru (Sourced from GMS Weekly). Tuesday, 28 June 2011 

GMS weekly report on INDIAN shipbreaking industry for WEEK 25 of 2011:

A number of market sales registered for the week many of them reefers as the high season ended and cargoes became harder to come by. Yet, market levels hardly impressed for another week with the monsoon season now fully underway and capacity becoming an increasing issue.

However, for the right levels, there were buyers willing to take a punt on the market and two high profile sales registered. The Chinese owned FU RONG (24,295 LDT) went to the same buyer that had acquired three previous capes - the ETERNAL STAR, JIA FU STAR and GLORY SHENZHEN, in some-what of a buying binge.

The MELBOL7RNE MAJESTY (12,587 LDT) likewise achieved something of an unrealistic price with some fuel and decent specs the reason for the remarkably high USD 507/LT LDT on show. However, being an ex wet-trader and supposedly having significant amounts of non-ferrous yet onboard, the vessel fetched a better than decent price, given the present market predicament.

The prevailing view is mat levels may have some way to fall 3^et, even though there seems to be a certain (suspended) pause in the decline of market levels at the moment. Whilst it is felt mat levels will not dip below USD 450/LT LDT in the near future, prices on dry vessels are now well below USD 500/LT LDT with wet units priced just above USD 500/LT LDT.

Source: Steel Guru (Sourced from GMS Weekly). Tuesday, 28 June 2011

GMS weekly report on PAKISTAN shipbreaking industry for WEEK 25 of 2011:

Gadani buyers continued to cherry pick their way through the available tonnage following the sale of two high profile suezmax tankers in recent weeks. The Great Eastern owned JAG LAKSHYA and TMT's IRON MONGER 5 both only sold on a gas free for many entry basis found buyers region USD 520 per LT LDT.

Additionally this week, panamax bulker HAO WANG is reportedly headed to the shores of Pakistan for a relatively firm USD 495 per LT LDT as a particular end buyer in question keen for a Danish built unit of this size and type.

The overriding concern is that levels will follow the downward trend of the Indian market currently despite steel prices remaining strong and capacity starting to clear somewhat.

Source: Steel Guru (Sourced from GMS Weekly). Tuesday, 28 June 2011  

Is Wisdom spewing oil into the Arabian Sea?

The polluted beach has become increasingly hazardous for visitors; onlookers noticed a kilometer-long oil slick near the cargo ship yesterday

The stately silhouette of the stranded cargo ship MV Wisdom was, till a few days ago, the cynosure of all eyes on the Juhu beach.

But the prolonged presence of the vessel has quickly turned the entire region into an eyesore, choking the waters with plastic, and roads with traffic.

The ship is possibly plunging the surrounding waters into an ecological disaster. Traces of oil were found in its vicinity yesterday, compelling the police cordon off the stretch. A kilometer-long oil slick could be seen lining the coast, possibly caused by seepage of what appeared to be the heavy fuel used to propel ships.

Juhu residents, however, claim that this is a regular phenomenon in monsoons. Experts however, have scoffed at the residents' naivete.

"Any vessel invariably contains substantial quantities of sludge or residual oil, which has to be drained out before the vessel is dismantled for scrapping. Otherwise, it could pose a threat to the environment," said marine engineer Mehernosh Shroff.

Scientist-in-charge Dr Shankar Gajbiye at the National Institute of Oceanography said, "I haven't received any information on the oil slick.

If the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board informs us, we will deploy a team for inspection." He pointed out the necessity to distinguish between a tar ball, oil or oil residue, saying, "If lumps are seen in the slick, then the source needs to be detected immediately."

The State Secretary of Environment Valsa Nair Singh, said, "The vessel was carrying four tonnes of oil. Local MPCB field staff members inspected the ship, but detected no traces of oil or leakage. Tomorrow onwards, we will be collecting water samples twice daily."

Director of the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) Dr Asad Rahmani said that the appearance of an oil slick was an alarming phenomenon. "The presence of oil severely affects marine ecology.

What is particularly worrisome is the fact that this is the breeding period of fishes."

The heaps of waste left behind by apathetic visitors may be the cause behind the tragic death of 15-year-old Vinod Gone, who was pulled in by the currents when he swam in too deep. "Visitors litter the beach," complained Harish Tiwari, a senior Life Guard.

When Gone's body was recovered, it was completely wrapped in waste and polythene bags.

"Even seasoned life guards are cautious when entering the waters. Plastic may suffocate or immobilise someone who is pulled underwater by currents. Moreover, the chemicals in the water hampers visibility," said Tiwari.

Lifeguard Bunty Rao, who was also part of Gone's retrieval operation, confirmed that it had taken the team a long time to free the body from the plastic it was wrapped in.

Source: Mid Day. By: Nimesh Dave, Rinkita Gurav and Shailesh Bhatia. 28 June 2011

A new venture in green scrapping: Aims to provide a green ship recycling service

Green scrapping of ships is being launched by leading figures behind Maersk Ship Management Recycling and aims to provide an absolutely green recycling service.

It will provide services for brokers, yards and owners - including AP Moller-Maersk - and will focus on the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships and floating structures.

The venture, Sea2Cradle, is being spearheaded by Tom Peter Blankestijn, director of Maersk Ship Management Recycling, and colleague Wouter Rozenfeld.

Sea2Cradle,which is based in Rotterdam,follows AP Moller-Maersk's recent decision to pull out of the green recycling of ships for third-party owners and close its operation, which it views as non-core.

It started the activity after taking over P&O Nedlloyd, where Blankestijn was also active. Blankestijn and Rozenfeld have more than 11 years' experience in green ship recycling with AP Moller-Maersk, which is said to be in full agreement with Sea2Cradle's launch.

Operations  have mostly focussed on using yards in China, although Blankestijn says Sea2Cradle plans also to utilise Van Heyghen in Ghent, Belgium, part of the international Galloo Recycling Group.

The Belgian yard has scrapped UK Ministry of Defence vessels, among others.

Sea2Cradle will have three shareholders including managing director Blankestijn and director of operations Rozenfeld.

The other stakeholder is international management-consultancy group called Oxalis, involving four people who have huge experience in the maritime sector.

Among them is Rutger van Slobbe, a former executive director of P&O Nedloyd and currently chairman of Cargonaut's supervisory board and a member of Dutch heavylift player Dockwise's supervisory board.

Sea2Cradle will offer a full service embracing the provision of ship-recycling plans and inventories of hazardous materials (IHMs), as well as assisting owners during last voyages and the yard recycling process.

It also intends to provide training at yards and, building on existing contacts with recyclers, brokerage services where required.

A long-term agreement to assist AP Moller-Maersk provides Sea-2Cradle with marketing credibility, although the young age profile of the "Big Blue" fleet and its frequent sale of ships well before they reach scrapping age means only three or four are typically recycled each year.

Most activity at Maersk Ship Management Recycling, which Sea2Cradle effectively replaces, has historically involved overseeing in China the scrapping of third-party tonnage, including large car carriers, tankers for oil majors and marine-survey vessels. It is said that nearly 20 vessels were recycled in 2010.

Blanjkestijn says Sea2Cradle will sign strategic partnerships with at least four recycling yards in China, as well as Van Heyghen in Belgium and potentially also Turkish yards.

Sea2Cradle's launch coincides with an increasing focus on green recycling and the new Hong Kong Convention, which, says the company, will result in many changes in the industry.

Although the convention may not enter into force for several years, Sea2Cradle hopes to benefit from owners' early and voluntarily implementation of future obligations such as with IHMs.

It has been agreed that Sea2Cradle will take over existing Maersk Ship Management Recycling contracts involving at least four ships. Sea2Cradle will have a staff of eight located in Rotterdam and China who are said to have recycled more than 60 vessels in the past decade.

The intention is to ink partnership agreements with not only yards and owners but also brokers, classification societies and other stakeholders in what is described as a commitment to zero accidents and zero pollution.

As well as ships, the company is targeting offshore structures containing hazardous materials, including in the North Sea and Southeast Asia.

Source: Safety4Sea. 28 June 2011

Canada, Others Block ASBESTOS Listing From U.N. Hazardous List:

GENEVA - Chrysotile asbestos will not be listed as a hazardous industrial chemical that can be banned from import after countries including Canada and Ukraine blocked consensus, a United Nations spokesman said Friday.

The decision was taken at a meeting of states that have ratified the Rotterdam Convention despite the treaty's scientific review body having recommended the inclusion of "white" asbestos on health grounds, a U.N. spokesman said.

"Several countries declared in plenary problems they had with the inclusion of chrysotile (asbestos), including Canada, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Vietnam," U.N. spokesman Michael Stanley-Jones told a news briefing in Geneva.
Australia, Chile and the European Union (EU) were among those seeking the inclusion of chrysotile on the 2004 treaty's trade "watch list" of chemicals and severely hazardous pesticides which exporters must share information on.

"That chemical will come before the next conference of the Rotterdam parties in 2013," the spokesman said.

Endosulfan, a pesticide banned in many states but still used in many tropical countries on crops including coffee and tea, was added by consensus, he said. So were two other pesticides, alachlor and aldicarb, bringing the total list to 43 substances.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in his successful campaign for the May 2 general election, sought votes in Quebec and defended one of the province's most controversial exports -- asbestos.

Health and public safety groups had been pressuring the federal and Quebec governments to halt exports of asbestos, a fire-retardant mineral used in construction that is linked to deadly lung diseases, including cancer.

Supporters of Quebec's chrysotile asbestos industry say that this form of the mineral is safe to handle as long as proper guidelines are followed.

Critics have been particularly concerned about exports to developing countries that lack the safeguards to ensure asbestos is used safely, endangering the lives of both workers using the material and the general public.

Source: Reuters Canada. By Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Elizabeth Piper
Friday, 24 June 2011

Canada Slammed for Stance on Asbestos Trade:

Canada last week emerged as the only developed country to oppose the listing of chrysotile asbestos to the Rotterdam Convention, prompting a litany of criticism from around the world. If approved, the known carcinogen would have been listed on Annex III of the hazardous chemicals convention, which would require exporters to warn recipient countries of any health hazards.

The discussions took place in Geneva at the fifth Conference of the Parties (COP 5) to the Rotterdam Convention, which ran from 20-24 June. In addition to chrysotile asbestos, parties were tasked with considering the inclusion of the pesticides endosulfan and aldicarb, as well as the herbicide alachlor in Annex III.

While endosulfan was the only one of the four to become a new addition to the list, it was the asbestos debate that monopolised much of the attention last week in Switzerland.

Canada is one of only a handful of countries - including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Vietnam - that continue to export asbestos. Use of the substance in the developed world - including Canada - has plummeted since the 1970s, when awareness of the respiratory health risks became more widespread.

Asbestos continues to be used in the construction industry of various developing countries, notably China, India, and the Philippines. Canada argues that as long as appropriate safety precautions are observed, the mineral can be used without adverse health effects. But critics argue that such measures are regularly not taken in developing countries, where health and safety standards are typically more lax.

The addition of asbestos to Annex III also played a prominent role when parties last met at COP 4 in 2008. But in the voting process, India - Canada’s primary asbestos trading partner - actively lobbied to keep the substance off the list, thereby allowing Canada to remain silent on the issue (see Bridges Trade BioRes, 14 November 2008).

India’s about-face rattles exporters

Last Wednesday, however, India surprised many delegates by announcing it had reconsidered its previous opposition and would now support the listing. Delhi’s new position on the issue prompted several asbestos exporting countries to reconsider their stance as well; one by one, opposition to the listing soon disappeared. Finding itself alone on the issue, Canada unilaterally blocked consensus. The move reportedly provoked hostility from some delegates.

In the hours following Ottawa’s opposition, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, and Vietnam again reconsidered their position and realigned themselves with Canada. Ukraine and Kazakhstan maintain there is a lack of scientific data to support listing the substance on Annex III, while Canada has not fully explained its position.

When pressed on the issue on Thursday, Canada insisted that the country has “actively promoted safe and controlled use of the substance domestically and internationally.” But with the use of chrysotile asbestos virtually banned across Canada, critics have accused Ottawa of acting irresponsibly.

When the ruling Conservative government was pressed on the issue by opposition parties back in Ottawa, Industry Minister Christian Paradis staunchly defended the government’s position.

“We know that chrysotile [asbestos] can be used in a safe fashion in a controlled environment,” Paradis told Canadian parliament last week.

But with Paradis’ electoral district being home to Canada’s last remaining asbestos mine, some critics have accused him of promoting policy out of self-interest.

In a final move to express their displeasure at the blockage of asbestos, Australia - supported by the African Group - introduced a declaration by the EU and 66 countries stating that, in their trade practices, they will make every attempt to make information regarding asbestos hazards known. The Declaration also states the countries’ intent to ensure asbestos is ultimately listed in Annex III. Delegates had been discussing potential alternatives for dealing with recommended chemicals that do not manage to achieve a consensus. While the declaration is external to the Convention itself, its existence is noted in the formal meeting report.

Adopted in 1998, the Rotterdam Convention requires exporting countries to obtain prior informed consent (PIC) from importing countries before listed chemicals can be delivered. This is accomplished through the use of proper labelling, safe handling instructions, and the disclosure of any known restrictions or bans.

With the addition of endosulfan, there are now a total of 41 chemicals listed in the convention, including 30 pesticides and 11 industrial chemicals.

ICTSD Reporting; “Pic COP5 Highlights,” EARTH NEGOTIATIONS BULLETIN, 22 June 2011; “Canada blocks move to deem asbestos hazardous,” CBC, 22 June 2011; “Canada Asbestos Debate Rages On at Geneva Summit, Refuses To List Chrysotile As Hazardous,” CANADIAN PRESS, 23 June 2011.

Source: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development.
27 June 2011

27 June 2011

Shipbreaking very unlikely to fill supply-demand gap in global tonnage

MUMBAI: 26 JUNE Hopes of increased shipbreaking activities bringing about a semblance of balance between limited demand and over supply of shipping tonnage are not likely to hold good for long as the industry in the sub-continent, considered to be world's largest region for shipbreaking, is fighting a battle amidst low demand and declining prices of steel.

"The situation is rather tight given the disparity in prices that are prevailing in local and foreign markets," said Vishnu Gupta, president of Alang based Ship Recycling Industry Association.

Considering the many factors that determine the performance of the industry, Mr Gupta is not optimistic about the shipbreaking sector coming to the rescue of shipping industry by absorbing some of the extra tonnage that it is saddled with due to heavy influx of newbuildings.

Source: The Economic Times. 27 June 2011

Shipbreaking very unlikely to fill supply-demand gap in global tonnage:

Hopes of increased shipbreaking activities bringing about a semblance of balance between limited demand and over supply of shipping tonnage are not likely to hold good for long as the industry in the sub-continent, considered to be world's largest region for shipbreaking, is fighting a battle amidst low demand and declining prices of steel.

"The situation is rather tight given the disparity in prices that are prevailing in local and foreign markets," said Vishnu Gupta , president of Alangbased Ship Recycling Industry Association .

Considering the many factors that determine the performance of the industry, Mr Gupta is not optimistic about the shipbreaking sector coming to the rescue of shipping industry by absorbing some of the extra tonnage that it is saddled with due to heavy influx of newbuildings.

Local markets in the Indian sub-continent continued their descent to coincide with the monsoon and an enormous over supply of vessels, the sales board showed a marked sign of slowdown, noted a recent recycling market commentary by Global Marketing Systems , Inc (GMS). Demolition data of tankers and bulk vessels globally seems to paint a different picture, however.

The year so far has reported a record year for dry bulk carrier demolition. According to Braemar market insight, during Jan-May 2011, 13.6M DWT of bulkers have been scrapped, including 7.1M DWT of Capesize (over 120k DWT) bulkers. If scrapping continues at this pace for the balance of 2011, it could reach 32.6M DWT, more than three times the previous record set in 2009.

"The current rate of demolition of bulkers might offer a ray of hope in the freight markets, but this year deliveries are already outweighing scrapping by almost three to one. In Jan-May, 36.3M DWT of bulkers delivered, including 20.5M DWT of bulkers over 85K DWT. If deliveries continue at this rate for the balance of 2011, they will total over 87M DWT for the year," noted the insight. With annualised bulk carrier fleet growth based on Jan-May deliveries and demolition in the range of 10%, oversupply is expected to be an agenda for some time to come for shipping companies.

Too many ships are also troubling the tanker segment. The relative health of the freight market in 2008 had led owners to order far too many new ships, which have now started hitting the water, even as the idled very large crude carriers are returning to trading. This combination has started hitting the sector very badly.

Source: The Economic Times. 27 June 2011

26 June 2011

Three youth rescued:

Three rescued boys
A day after MV Wisdom claimed its first casualty, three boys who swam too close to stranded ship are saved by alert lifeguards manning Juhu beach.

Even as policemen from the Santacruz station and lifeguards posted at Juhu Beach are searching for the body of the teenager, who was drowned by strong currents near MV Wisdom on Friday, three children were rescued from the same fate on Saturday afternoon.

All the three were less than 11 years and had defied warnings by officials telling onlookers to stay away from the stranded ship. The 9,000-tonne MV Wisdom has been stranded on Juhu beach since June 11, after it broke away from the ship that was tugging it to Gujarat's Alang shipbreaking yard.

Sunday Mid Day witnessed the rescue operation of three unaccompanied children on Saturday afternoon, all within a span of two hours. They were then taken to the Juhu chowki to enquire where they lived.

At 1.45 pm, Adil Sheikh and Sharukh Sheikh, who had swum towards MV Wisdom, were resuced by lifeguard Harish Tiwari, after he noticed they were being pulled in by the tide.

Less than an hour later, a seven year-old, who identified himself as Abral, was rescued by lifeguard Kishore Tiwari. Abral, who was in shock, told the police amid sobs that he was visiting the beach with friends from Sion.

"With lakhs of people thronging the beach, it has now become a mad house," said Harish Tiwari, who took the Sheikh brothers home in an autorickshaw. "I spent Rs 50 to take them home, but they eventually confessed to lying about where they lived, as they were afraid of incurring their parents wrath," said Manjula Rankhambe, a constable.

Rankhambhe said that no adult had come forward to claim the children. "We will try to track down their families or else we'll hand them over to the Dongri remand home," she said.

Last Sunday, four boys almost drowned, in an attempt to get close to the ship.

Captain Harish Khatri from Directorate General Shipping, who is coordinating the operation to remove MV Wisdom, said that it was high time people understand the danger of venturing into the water to see the stranded vessel.

"The vessel will stay on the beach for at least another fortnight, till the next high tide. At the end of the day people too have to act responsibly and not depend entirely on the lifeguards to rescue them," he said.

Source: Mid Day. By Shailesh Bhatia. 26 June 2011

Day after drowning, area around MV Wisdom secured:

A Day after a teenaged boy drowned at the Juhu Beach while playing near beached vessel MV Wisdom, bamboo barricades came up on a stretch to cordon off the area around the vessel. While NGO Juhu Beach Lifeguards Association claimed that they put up the barricades, the police and fire brigade maintained that they jointly secured the area.

Photo by: AP
The ship has been attracting curious residents since it ran aground on June 12. Neville David of JBLA said they erected the bamboo barriers on a 40 by 100 ft area. A senior fire officer challenged the claim.

“The fire brigade and the police have jointly cordoned off the area,” he said. In addition to five lifeguards, four firemen and two fire station officers are also present on the beach. A police official from the Santacruz police station said the number of police personnel on the beach has been increased after Friday’s incident.

Source: The Indian Express. Sunday, 26 June 2011

Mumbai: Teenager Drowns in Juhu Beach

Mumbai, Jun 25: A challenge by a teenager to his friend to touch the rope hanging from the MV Wisdom vessel, proved to be fatal here at Juhu beach, on Friday June 24 morning.

The boy won the challenge, but while swimming back to the shore he was engulfed by a huge wave. A lifegaurd who was a little away from the shore rushed to save him, but by the time he could reach him, the boy had already disappeared among the waves.

Until late night on Friday, the body was not found.

It is learnt that the lifeguards at the beach are not paid anything and render their services as a social work. Hence, they are not available round the clock which resulted in the delay in rescue in this particular case. Lifeguards need to be stationed 24x7 to avoid such incidents, said an eyewitness at Juhu beach.

M Chaudhari, senior police inspector of Santa Cruz, said efforts were on to identify the victim. "We have registered a case of accidental death and are making attempts to identify the teenager who drowned," said Chaudhari.

Source: DaijiWorld. Saturday, 25 June 2011

Shipbreaking Industry Environmental Disaster:

Alang – The largest shipbreaking industry in Asia:

As part of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Plan, it is necessary to review safety and related issues at the Alang and Sosia Ship Breaking Yard (ASSBY). ASSBY is located on the coast of Bhavnagar district and in the Gulf of Cambay, a distance of 56 km south from Bhavnagar city.

This place has the best continental shelf available for shipbreaking in the whole of Asia. At the same time, it is known for the highest tidal level (10 meters) in the country. The vast expanse of intertidal zone gets exposed during ebb (low) tide which makes it convenient for shipbreaking activity, whereas the high tide makes it possible to accommodate big ships.

The first shipbreaking activity started in 1983 at Alang. Today ASSBY boasts the biggest shipbreaking yard in whole of Asia with 182 plots carrying on this activity year round. Last year, ships worth 3.2 million tones were broken in this yard. With the facilitating measures in the central budget, the shipbreaking activity has the potential to achieve more tonnage.


The Gujarat Ecology Commission has carried out a detailed study of ecological restoration at ASSBY. However, without going into the ecological details of the project, 3 basic issues can be mentioned:
1) issues causing ecological imbalance at Alang and in nearby areas,
2) issues causing impact on nearby villages and village infrastructure, and
3) issues causing concern during shipbreaking.

The shipbreaking activity itself is manual labour intensive and unorganised. It is necessary to bring advanced technology to this industry so that the rate of accidents can be further reduced. The uproar on the Alang situation in the Western media is uncalled for, as the situation at Alang is within control and not beyond repair. What is required is a sustainable coastal zone management approach.

There are around 24,000 direct workers and some 11,000 to 12,000 workers in allied activities in the ASSBY area. Out of around 35,000 workers, according to one survey, only 0.55% belong to Gujarat. It means that more than 99 percent of the workers are from other states. They are mainly from three states, Orissa, U.P. and Bihar. They are mainly from backward and drought prone regions of those states. This means that this is a migrant labour force. The Interstate Migrant Workman Act will have to be applied here. If this Act is applied, most of the problems of working and living conditions can be solved, because the ISMW Act mentions accommodation, medical facilities and even travelling allowances. Wages are not a problem for these workers, but the working living conditions are hazardous and inhuman.

So far as safety aspects are concerned, no standards are observed either by workers or by plot management. Out of 361 workers, according to the survey, 14 (3.88%) workers reported accidents, 11 workers (3.05%) sustained burns and 14 workers (3.88%) reported injuries. 10 workers (2.77%) wear helmets, only 1 worker reported having gloves, 2 workers reported having shoes and 3 workers reported having welding glasses.

Guidelines / pollution control:

Most of the ships that arrive on the Gujarat coast come from the United States where environmental and safety laws prevent shipbreaking, but do not prohibit their export to other countries.

The most that has happened so far is that, in May, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) produced a set of toothless guidelines for the industry and recommended rejection of ships with high levels of pollutants listed the Basel Convention.

While the Basel Convention bans the export of many items which are commonly found on the ships such as asbestos, lead and pollutants such as polychlorinated biphenyls, the ships themselves are exempt.

Future of Shipbreaking industry in India:

THE shipbreaking industry in India is likely to witness hectic activity in the next 10 years with the European Union’s proposed accelerated phase-out of single-hull tankers (20,000 to 30,000 DWT — dead weight tonnage).

According to a recent study, there are more than 2,250 single-hull tankers of 5,000 DWT, or a total of 129.5 million DWT (till January 2004), that will have to be scrapped. This is 25-30 per cent higher than the estimate of peak volume of 2015.

These tankers will be withdrawn by 2010 and 2015 in accordance with the strict time-tables set by the European Commission (EC) and the IMO (International Maritime Organisation). The new regulations include a ban on carrying heavy grades of oil in single-hull tankers.

According to an EU-commissioned study, the shipbreaking industry’s present capacity, in Asia, and particularly India, may still be enough to meet the demand generated by the proposed accelerated phase-out.

The EU Parliament and Council amended Regulation 417/2002 to phase out single-hull tankers, and the IMO followed suit. According to the study, in the past 10 years decommissioning of ships has been concentrated in the Indian sub-continent and elsewhere in Asia. Shipbreaking in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and China accounted for more than 90 per cent of the of all vessels scrapped. Of all the vessels scrapped from 1994 to 2003, less than 2% were broken in Europe, with Turkey accounting for more than 85% of this.

For instance, 4,658 ships were scrapped between 1994 and 2003. Of this 2,638 were scrapped in India, followed by Bangladesh (603), China (523) and Turkey (125). In other words, India accounted for around 60% of the global ship-scrapping, and whole of Asia 75%.

On an average, oil tankers accounted for 40% of the volumes scrapped during 1993-2004. Some 250 Indian companies are involved in ship-scrapping, mostly along the Gujarat coast.

The Indian Government is unable to resist shipbreaking activity because Industry which also brings in 2.5 million tons of steel representing about 10% of India‘s overall steel production.

Kakinada Shipbreaking industry:

Undeterred by the grave environmental implications and rejection of a similar project by the fishing community and the Environment Department, moves are on to set up a hazardous shipbreaking yard on the Uppala-Vakalapudi stretch close to the Coringa wildlife sanctuary near Kakinada.

Sources in the department say an industrial group, carrying on the ship breaking activity clandestinely in Kakinada, is lobbying for clearance of the project, which envisages handling of 300 ships every year. The previous project at Vodarevu by Andhra Sea Ports in 2001 came a cropper a year later, with the department rejecting it under the provisions of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification.

HC directive:

This was after the High Court directed the authorities to take effective steps to prevent shipbreaking activity till further orders. Listing hazards, the petitioner had challenged the consent for establishment (CFE) issued by the AP Pollution Control Board, after rejecting it earlier, without clearance from the Shore Area Development Authority (SADA).

Like now, the industry then too had lobbied for the project, citing “employment potential and the revenue to the State,” oblivious to the effects on the environment and the marine ecosystem. The SADA rejected the proposal.

Lobbying is on again to get clearance, now on the technical ground that shipbreaking requires waterfront and foreshore facilities. Hence it should be considered under “permissible” and not “prohibited” activities of the CRZ notification, the argument goes. Environmentalists emphasize that the State should not go by such technicalities.

Impact on Coringa Sanctuary:

Coringa Sanctuary is located near Kakinada port in East Godavari District along Bay of Bengal. It is at a distance of 20-km from Kakinada. There would be impact of pollution from the shipbreaking industry on the flora and fauna of the sanctuary.

It is renowned for reptiles and the most famous ones are the salt-water crocodiles. The total area of sanctuary is part of delta of the river Godavari. It covers a total area of 235.70-sq-km and forms a part of the Godavari mangroves. It was declared as a sanctuary in July 1978 to conserve the mangrove vegetation of the estuary.


Mangroves are a group of salt tolerant plant species, which occur in the tropical and subtropical initial estuary regions. Mangroves constitute a dynamic ecosystem with a complex association of both floral and faunal species of terrestrial and aquatic systems and the vegetation in this forest is of evergreen type.

Mangroves provide different kind of niches for a variety of animal populations required. The crowns of trees including trunk, branches, leaves, flowers and fruits provide niches essentially, to terrestrial fauna like birds, mammals and insects. The Soil Surface of mangroves provides niche for mudskippers, crabs and molluscs. The Sanctuary has a unique distinction of having an 18-km long sand spit in the North Eastern side, where the species of olive Ridley sea turtle (endangered species) nests during January-March of every year.


The habitat is suitable for the salt-water crocodiles. The water in the forest supports a variety of animals. One can find animals like the Fishing Cats, Otters, Jackals, Estuarine Crocodiles, Sea Turtles and birds like Sea gulls, Pelicans, Storks, Herons, Snipes, Ducks and Flamingos. The main species of mangrove forest are Rhizophora, Avincinia, Sonneratia Aegiceros.

Source: Environmental Articles. By Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy