As a minimum, yards that Maersk collaborates with must be certified according to the Hong Kong Convention.
Maersk supports a global agreement on responsible ship recycling. Since 2009, when Maersk introduced a responsible recycling policy and expressed its support for the UN’s Hong Kong Convention, Maersk has put great effort into pushing for its universal ratification. The convention was negotiated in the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and defines a set of global minimum standards on safety and environmental issues related to ship recycling.
Maersk supports recycling yards in Alang, India, that demonstrate a willingness to change, and their efforts have already led to significant progress. As a minimum, yards that Maersk collaborates with must be certified according to the Hong Kong Convention. Since sending two vessels to the Shree Ram yard at Alang for the first time in May this year, Maersk has witnessed significant progress in several areas.
In the yard, 70% of the workers have received intensive safety training and instructions from the independent British assessment services provider, Lloyds Register Quality Assurance, and other organisations. The remaining 30%, who perform less dangerous tasks, have also received safety training specially targeted towards their tasks.
Other examples of the progress achieved are:
As opposed to practices used elsewhere in the local area, the environmental recycling plan outlined by said convention means that the majority of a vessel is dismantled on a surface whereby there is no contact between ship parts and the surrounding sand or water.
Use of appropriate personal protective equipment is available and required.
All workers are paid the minimum wage plus 200 % in overtime payment and they have a contract—neither of which are otherwise practiced by the industry in the local area.
For the vast majority of the shipyard’s employees, housing conditions have been significantly upgraded and the yard is in the process of improving the housing conditions of the remaining employees.
Maersk’s intention to have vessels recycled in Alang, India, and its concurrent decision to sell two container vessels to one of the leading ship recyclers in the area has raised public concerns and triggered controversy. Its ambition is to change an industry.
Annette Stube, Head of Group Sustainability says that when Maersk decided to collaborate with ship recycling yards in India everyone was fully aware of the risk of being criticised as the yards were not yet observing the regulations fully.
“We can document the main improvements that have already been achieved and we now see that the recycling yards' engagement in the plan has led to others following suit. When we begin negotiations on the recycling of the next vessels, we will invite a number of other yards in Alang that, like Shree Ram, already follow the Hong Kong Convention and will commit to meeting our standards,” Stube says, adding that four shipyards have announced that they are ready and have already initiated new investments in improvements impacting hundreds of workers.
Annette Stube underlines that the Group complied with standards of openly communicating to media and NGOs prior to initiating the recycling activities:
“Instead of waiting on the sideline we have taken action and the results we have achieved in six months are far more comprehensive and far-reaching than those achieved during the seven years of waiting for a global agreement.”
Source: Maersk. 23 November 2016