10 August 2011

Is ship recycling now a much safer, environmentally friendly industry in India than the shipping industry may have assumed?

Recently, Shashank Agrawal from Wirana Shipping Corporation in Singapore wrote on Lloyds List that it is his opinion that ship recycling in both India and Bangladesh is actually a lot safer now than many may assume.

His argument was refreshing, and based around evidence of accreditation.

Ø     At Alang, India out of 170 functional ship recycling yards, over 100 have International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) 9001, 14001, 18001, furthermore, at least 50 of these hold ISO 30,000 certification.

Ø    At the yards in Chittagong, Bangladesh out of 45 functioning yards, 12 have ISO 9001, 14001, 18001 and 30,000 certification. The developments of these yards will be closely watched by the industry as deliberations continue over the health, safety and environmental regulation, and legislation from the Bangladesh Government.

Having international standardisation practices is integral to ensuring the quality of works is maintained and quantifiable across nations.

  • ISO standard 9001 ensures quality management is adhered to.
  • ISO 14001 applies to environmental management.
  • ISO 30,000 series applies directly to the shipping and ship recycling industry, designed to ensure health, safety and environmental measures are met.
“Under the Hong Kong Convention, ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials. ISO/PAS 30006:2010 will help by specifying the requirements for diagrams to show the location of hazardous materials onboard ships.

Shipyard workers have an elevated risk of developing an asbestos-related disease, especially in recycling activities. ISO/PAS 30007:2010 provides effective methods for minimizing the dangers of asbestos during ship recycling by reducing both the release of asbestos into the environment and worker exposure to asbestos.”
(http://www.iso.org/iso/pressrelease.htm?refid=Ref1346 -07/09/2010)

The ship recycling industry is vital to India and Bangladesh as their growing building needs require a vast amount of steel to supply the construction industry. Recycled steel from out of use, end of life vessels is suited to this requirement. The ship recycling industry also employs thousands of workers who may otherwise be unable to find work. If these countries continue to require the ship recycling industries, they are aware of the need to comply with international quality and environmental standardisation.

The Hong Kong Convention 2009 for the safe and environmentally sound recycling of ships has set out to ensure this standardisation applies to the ship recycling industry. The convention, when it comes into force, will require all commercial vessels over 500GT to carry an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM), often referred to as a ‘Green Passport’. This inventory will document all hazardous materials present on the vessel throughout its lifespan, including their amount and location. Therefore, when the time comes for repair or recycling, the vessel owner can hand over the IHM and be assured that all hazards will be treated with the correct safety precautions.

“An appendix to the Convention will provide a list of hazardous materials the installation or use of which is prohibited or restricted in shipyards, ship repair yards, and ships of Parties to the Convention. Ships will be required to have an initial survey to verify the inventory of hazardous materials, additional surveys during the life of the ship, and a final survey prior to recycling.” – IMO.

Source: Lucion Marine. 8 August 2011 

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