12 November 2012

Bangladesh Shipbreaking sector set to get patronage from govt

Technical assistance body formed

The Ministry of Industries (MoI) is going to extend help to the shipbreaking and recycling industry in the light of suggestions and rules of International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Basel Convention and by forming a Technical Assistance (TA) body.

The MoI Secretary in-charge Mohammad Moinuddin Abdullah said in early January the government is going to form a TA committee to help the ship breakers as they abide by the international rules as well as rules in the gazette published by the government.

He said ship-breaking is currently following the government's Ship Breaking & Recycling Rules 2011. There were no particular laws for them before 2011.

The MoI Secretary said the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) has shown its interest to support the ship-breaking industry in accordance with international standard and law of the land.

He said although the agency was already helping, possible help on a big scale was still at the stage of negotiation with the ministry of industries.

Another MoI official said, "First we want to bring the shipbreaking industry under a particular rule and gradually the sector will be supported by the government and different international agencies as we want the industrialists to follow rules. We are marching ahead."

The source also said the government has recognised ship-breaking as an industry in the year 2011 and has published a gazette to regularise the industrialists under particular rules.

The Secretary said prior to the gazette there were no clear guidelines for the shipbreakers. He said the government has designed rules on safety, environment pollution, human health, disposal of toxic chemicals and other important issues.

The Bangladesh Ship Breaking & Recycling Rules 2011 has been formulated by following the rules and suggestions of the IMO, BASEL Convention and Hong Kong Convention.

After putting the Act in place, the industry ministry is trying its best to monitor and supervise the industry to create impetus to force the ship-breakers to maintain rules.

According to data available from the MoI, currently Bangladesh is breaking 26 per cent of the world's total scrapped ships, China 33 per cent, India 31 per cent and Pakistan 4-5 per cent.

Statistics shows that Bangladesh alone is dismantling more than one quarter of the world's total abandoned ships and gradually the industry is rising.

Hefjatur Rahman, president of the Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association (BSBA) said, "We have been informed that the government is going to support the ship-breaking industry and help us follow the shipbreaking rules."

The BSBA president said, "We want to operate under a system and it is good for us that the government has declared the sector as an industry and wants to bring it under a particular law."

He said once the environment and health-safety rules were materialised in the shipbreaking sector, the practice would continue and everybody would maintain those in their shipyards.

He urged the government's help in installing Central Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) in the shipyards, where they may treat the toxic and hazardous chemicals.

The BSBA president also brought to the government's attention the fact that the shipbreakers may join hands to help finance installation of the CETP as they felt it was not possible for the government alone to install the toxic chemical treatment plant.

He also said according to the BASEL and Hong Kong Convention, when the ship builders build ships, they are not allowed to use toxic chemicals. It has been in practice since 1984 and 1990 respectively.

He said after two to three years the scrapped ships would be toxicity-free and the toxicity stored during carrying toxic chemicals by the ships in their operative phase would be disposed of by using modern technology within a couple of years in the shipyards.

He said currently more than 20 years old ships are not allowed to be brought by the shipbreakers as per international rules.

Source: the financial express. By Shamsul Huda. 02 November 2012

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