30 July 2017

Gadani’s ship-breaking workers threaten to go on strike

The union representatives say no steps have been taken to ensure a safer workplace for workers. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: The Ship Breaking Workers Union Gadani has warned of going on strike in mid-August if their employers and the government do not fulfil their demands of provision of health and safety facilities at workplaces, increments in salaries and wages as well as special legislation for their industry.

Addressing a press conference on Thursday at the Karachi Press Club, union president Bashir Mehmoodani said that the ship-breakers and authorities seemed least bothered about workers’ safety at the yards, despite witnessing one of the deadliest disasters in the history of the industry last November.

On November 1, 2016, 26 workers were killed and dozens others injured when a decommissioned oil tanker, MT Aces, caught fire during the dismantling process. The blaze ripped through the tanker and continued to rage for three to four days due to the lack of fire extinguishing facilities at the yard.

Mehmoodani, who was part of a tripartite committee formed to oversee the compensation process to the victims of the fire and to propose necessary rules and regulations for ship-breaking industry, said that nothing has been done to rectify the shortcomings other than verbal assurances from the employers and authorities.

“Three months on, two-acres of land has been given by a local resident for the construction of a hospital in Gadani but the employers who pledged to establish the health facility have not started any work nor have they responded,” he said. “Two to three people are injured daily during the work but, unfortunately, no one cares.”

Nasir Mansoor, National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) deputy general secretary, commented that the November tragedy drew the attention of the whole world towards the precarious working conditions in Gadani and the government also formed a committee under the federal minister for production to investigate the matter.

Around nine months have passed but the committee’s report has yet to be made public, he said. This reflects how much the government and employers are concerned about the labourers who, through their sweat and blood, earn them billions of rupees in revenue.

Mansoor said that a so-called dispensary established at the yard still awaits a doctor while the ambulances stationed at a few yards are without drivers. “Expired fire extinguishers and out-dated safety equipment, which are actually from scrapped ships, have been installed at a few yards to give an impression that safety measures have been taken.”

The Gadani ship-breaking yards cater to around 33% of the country’s iron needs and provide raw material to the majority of rerolling mills, he said, adding that at least 3,500 to 4,000 workers are currently directly associated with the dismantling work.

“If a worker is injured during the work, the employers at first do their best to cover up the incident and offer a meagre amount to the injured to get medical aid,” Mansoor claimed. “Six workers have lost their lives since the oil tanker tragedy while many others have been injured. It seems that the government has left the workers at the mercy of their employers who only care for their profits.”

NTUF President Rafiq Baloch said that the government had pledged to move legislation about the ship-breaking industry but nothing has been done. “The situation would have been better if labour laws were implemented at the yards.”

He said that the police, labour department, environmental watchdogs, local media and other institutions were still relying on black money from the employers to remain tight-lipped about their wrongdoings. The NTUF and labour union leaders warned that if the ship-breakers and the government did not fulfil their demands within a week they would resort to protests and then a strike would be called at the yards in mid-August. They demanded that the wages be increased by at least 50% with effect from this fiscal year.

Source: the express tribune. 28 July 2017

Shipbreaking is a vital industry, but environmental reform is needed

Ship recycling has for many years been the preserve of shipbreaking yards with poor safety records and little regard for the environment. Now, however, new regulations are encouraging green practices

Since the dawn of the first industrial revolution, humans have plundered the planet at an increasing rate. Decades of excessive consumption have created an enormous quantity of global waste, and we are rapidly running out of room in which to store it. Landfills across the globe are fast reaching capacity, while the sea is flooded with one refuse truck of plastic every minute. With the global population rapidly rising, waste generation is also on the increase, and is expected to more than triple over the next century. According to the World Bank, we will be creating an incredible 11 million tonnes of rubbish per day by 2100.

In order to tackle this growing problem, nations around the world are pursuing ambitious refuse reduction efforts, and increasingly putting recycling at the top of their climate change agenda. In many developed countries, recycling has become commonplace in the home and at work, with environmentally conscious individuals stepping up to reduce their personal waste. While these efforts should be applauded, the problem of excessive waste cannot be solved through household recycling alone. Heavy industries such as car making, shipbuilding and chemical production are among the world’s worst offenders for waste creation, and must urgently address their waste management policies. Leading the way among these heavy industries is the ship recycling business, which seeks to safely dismantle end-of-life ships and salvage their reusable materials. As governments around the world call for greener alternatives to traditional shipbreaking practices, the ship recycling industry is set to boom.

Vessel value
Today, most modern ships have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years. Rust, corrosion and metal fatigue all take a toll on these vessels, rendering them uneconomical after around a quarter-decade of service. However, merely abandoning these ships to decay at the end of their life would be unwise, as they contain vast quantities of valuable materials, including steel, non-ferrous materials, wood, machinery, spares and other parts. Indeed, merchant vessels contain nearly every form of metal currently traded in global markets. Incredibly, up to 90 percent of an old ship can either be reused or recycled, with many metals sold to be melted and formed into other valuable products. Steel, for example, is recovered in large quantities from retired vessels, and can then be recycled. The steel recycling process consumes far less energy than its production from iron ore, and is also a much cheaper way to manufacture the metal. As such, metal recycling is both energy efficient and economically advantageous.

In addition to saving precious natural resources and landfill space, the ship recycling industry also plays an important role in generating jobs and income in many developing countries. South Asia is home to the world’s largest concentration of ship recycling yards, and the industry has become vital to the economies of Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.

At present, the industry employs more than 130,000 workers in the region, with many more involved in associated industries. In areas where poverty and joblessness are rife, ship recycling provides opportunities for workers who might otherwise face unemployment. The industry also supplies south Asia with a valuable source of steel. Bangladesh, for example, has no iron ore sources or mines, and thus relies heavily on recycled steel from the ship recycling process. Indeed, 60 percent of the nation’s steel comes from ship recycling, while recycled steel also accounts for 10 percent of neighbouring India’s needs.

Risky business
While there are advantages to ship recycling, the industry is also the subject of some criticism. With a reputation for being one of the world’s most dangerous jobs, there is a worrying lack of regard for worker health and safety in many of south Asia’s numerous ship recycling yards. Wages are low, and employees have no entitlement to overtime, sick pay or annual leave. With inadequate or absent protective equipment, workplace accidents are commonplace, often resulting in serious injury or death. Dangerous fumes and vapours envelop many recycling yards, causing workers to fall ill from inhaled toxins. What’s more, in Bangladesh child labour accounts for more than 20 percent of the total workforce.

Ship recycling also poses a significant environmental threat. End-of-life ships often contain a host of hazardous materials, ranging from asbestos to toxic paints, all of which can contaminate the local environment once they arrive at a recycling yard. Adding to the problem, many ship owners sell their ships at high prices to substandard recyclers, without providing an inventory of hazardous materials. This inventory is key to ensuring safe ship recycling, but only a few ship owners currently act properly.

Without a reliable list of a ship’s contents, yard workers are unable to identify and effectively deal with a retired ship’s hazardous materials, meaning these harmful toxins are released into the atmosphere, soil and seawater. As such, heavy metal pollution has had a severe impact on south Asia’s biodiversity and marine life, with 21 fish and crustacean species disappearing from Bangladesh as a result of the ship recycling industry. Mercury levels in the seawater and sediment at Alang, India’s biggest ship recycling yard, are reported to be a phenomenal 15,500 percent higher than normal. To make matters worse, many of the region’s ecologically important mangrove forests have been cut down in order to make room for recycling yards, leaving coastal areas at risk from rising sea levels.

Given these significant environmental and ethical concerns, it is clear the ship recycling industry needs to urgently overhaul its operations in order to become sustainable. This is where GSR Services comes in. Focused on changing the industry for the better, we advise ship owners, manufacturers and shipyard managers on how to improve their recycling practises. Effectively, we act as consultants and service providers to ship recyclers and ship owners, guiding both to be compliant with regulations and standards in the most effective way.

Tidal shift
As the costs of irresponsible ship recycling become too great to ignore, the industry is now moving towards a more sustainable future. Ever since the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships first came into effect in May 2009, there has been a tightening of international laws and regulations. This year is a landmark one for the green ship recycling movement, as all EU-flagged ships will soon be legally required to possess an inventory of hazardous materials.

This year, the European Commission will also announce whether it will continue to allow EU-flagged ships to be recycled on south Asia’s beaches. If the European Commission decides standards aren’t adequate in the region’s recycling yards, then it will order EU-flagged ships to be dismantled elsewhere. This marks a pivotal decision for the industry, which could see the sector shift away from its current south Asian centre. Unsurprisingly, many of the region’s shipyards have now begun to prioritise worker safety and environmental protections in the lead up to the assessment.

What’s more, in a further effort to improve worker health and safety, the Indian Government is soon set to deliver a $4.4m grant to the nation’s ship recycling yards, as part of its ambitious Sagarmala maritime investment project. With this fresh injection of capital, the region’s recycling yards may well succeed in improving their practices in line with EU standards.

Slowly but surely, ship recycling is shedding its old-fashioned image and becoming a truly green industry. Improved ship recycling practices must now become the norm, not the exception.

Source: European ceo. 28 Jul 2017

Demanding due rights

How lowly the status of the working class in Pakistan is can be witnessed by the fact that the much needed safety improvements in the Gadani Shipbreaking Yard have yet to come. Now, the Ship Breaking Workers’ Union of Gadani has given an ultimatum for their legitimate rights by August 1 otherwise they would launch protests and a strike. The shocking tragedy at the Gadani shipbreaking yard on November 1 last year, when almost a hundred workers were burnt alive, had led to questions over whether the tears and promises of the political leadership of the country meant that something substantial would change. Immediately, it became clear that no one was ready to take charge of the situation. The Sindh government put the responsibility on the Balochistan government, the Balochistan government pushed it onto the Sindh government as the federal government stood by and watched. Soon enough, the shipbreaking owners decided that they would restart work without seeking any approval and without implementing any safety measures.

All political governments stood by and watched as this happened. Even now, dozens of workers cannot be located with their remains said to have burnt inside the oil tanker that blew up. They have taken time but the workers have formulated demands, including a 50 percent increase in wages, one weekly holiday, a special code for employees, implementation of health and safety measures and registration with the EOBI and social security services. Moreover, the workers have demanded that the findings of the inquiry into the fire be made public. Why the inquiry report has not been made public is another serious question. It is simply disregard for the rights of workers that continues to demonstrate itself, despite this being one of the most challenging and dangerous forms of work being done in the country. This can be seen by the demand for ambulances on the site, with workers willing to risk their lives as long as adequate safety mechanisms are in place. The union claims that every day one or two workers are injured, some of them fatally, while working in the shipbreaking yard. If history is any guide, it seems workers will be left with no choice but to strike for their rights.

Source: the news. 30 July 2017

Ship Inn demolition starts

The start of the demolition

THE demolition of the Ship Inn in Hereford has started today.

The derelict pub on Cross Street and Ross Road is being demolished to make way for 35 new flats.

Herefordshire Housing is carrying out the work to provide a mixture of one and two bedroom flats- all of which would be affordable rent. 

Building is expected to start mid-August.

There is not a finish date for the new build yet but Herefordshire Housing is hoping for the new flats to be completed by April 2019.

Herefordshire Housing is asking for help from county residents to choose a name for the flats.

The name needs to either celebrate local history, celebrate cultural diversity in Herefordshire, recognise national and international noteworthy people, strengthen neighbourhood identity or recognise local wildlife.

The winning entry will be chosen by a team of judges. The person who submits the winning entry wins a family film ticket for the Courtyard in Hereford.

Source: Hereford times. 18 July 2017

Arihant to chance towing Lucky 7 today

PANJIM: The authorities are keeping their fingers crossed as salvage company Arihant Ship Breakers is expected to attempt to tow the grounded M V Lucky 7 from Miramar beach on Saturday.

PANJIM: The authorities are keeping their fingers crossed as salvage company Arihant Ship Breakers is expected to attempt to tow the grounded M V Lucky 7 from Miramar beach on Saturday. Sources told Herald that the company officials had positioned the crane barge around the vessel on Friday in a bid to prepare for the final exercise.

“The crane barge will be anchored at a particular location from where it will pull the huge vessel through steel wire rope into deep waters. However, all this depends on the water tide and weather. Today (Friday) the crane barge was at Miramar beach as a part of the preparation for the final exercise. It sailed back later on and will be brought again when the vessel will be towed,” the source said.

Some of the damaged portion of the casino vessel was being repaired on Friday. The vessel will be towed by the shortest route.

Source: herald goa. 29 July 2017

ClassNK issues Hong Kong Convention Statement of Compliance to a ship recycling facility in Turkey

Tokyo – Leading classification society ClassNK (Chairman and President: Koichi Fujiwara) has issued a Statement of Compliance (SoC) to a ship recycling facility in Izmir, Turkey, ISIKSAN SHIP RECYCLING and TRADING Co. Ltd. (Company Manager: Ömer DOĞAN), verifying that the facilities are in line with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 (HKC).

Although the HKC has yet to enter into force, ISIKSAN has carried out substantial improvements to its facility in a bid toward safer and greener ship recycling as well as developed the Ship Recycling Facility Plan (SRFP) required for a competent authority’s certification according to the HKC.

ClassNK reviewed the SRFP prepared by ISIKSAN, which comply with requirements of the HKC, and confirmed that its ship recycling processes follow the SRFP in addition to conducting on-site inspections before issuing the SoC. This marks the first time SoC have been issued to ship recycling facilities in Turkey.

“ClassNK is glad to issue the HKC Statement of Compliance and make its first step in Turkish ship recycling facilities. We will keep and further strengthen involvement to encourage safe and environmentally sound ship recycling practice through our verifications.” says ClassNK’s Junichi Hirata, Project Manager of Ship Recycling Team.

ClassNK will continue encouraging safe and environmentally sound ship recycling in accordance with the HKC through its issuance of SoC to facilities that meet the HKC standards.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

ClassNK Executive Operations Department
Tel: +81-3-5226-2047

Source: classNK. 12 July 2017

16 July 2017

Falling Capesize Rates Could Trigger More Scrapping Activity

The market for ships scrapping has been rather slow over the course of the past few weeks for a number of reasons, chief of which the shipowners’ reluctance to part with some of their older ships, but also because of the confusion reigning the demolition market at the moment. However, things could well be starting to pick up, as the continuous fall of the Capesize market, could trigger more sales.

In its latest weekly note, the world’s leading cash buyer of ships, GMS said that “renewed sense of purpose and aggression to conclude units seemed to inject itself into the market this week – particularly in Bangladesh – where we finally have confirmation that the prohibitive taxes announced in the recent budget will be reversed for the next two years (at the very least). Influential members of the Bangladesh Ship Breakers Association (BSBA) had reportedly lobbied the finance ministry since the initial announcement was made, whereby a 15% increase in VAT was to be levied on all incoming ships. This week, the BSBA appear to have finally succeeded in getting these duties overturned. Subsequently, Cash Buyers witnessed an increase in demand and enquiries emerging from Bangladesh as prices shot up by least USD 20/LDT from the inert and hesitant levels of last week”.

GMS added that “as a result, a number of deals were reportedly concluded to local buyers this week and some of those units (particularly the larger LDT vessels) that were likely destined for Indian / Pakistani shores will probably be redirected towards Chittagong in order take advantage of the renewed / hotter pricing on offer there. At odds with the demand has been the constant rains across most of Bangladesh and have left the industry in a paralytic state for a better part of the last two weeks. As such, most of the recently delivered vessels are simply being stockpiled at local yards making it difficult to gauge where local steel prices will level off once the cutting / reselling of ships steel resumes. For now, it is expected that demand and pricing should remain firm going into the remainder of July and it is likely that a number of high priced deals (market units or any remaining tonnage in various cash buyer hands) would be concluded at increasingly firm numbers”, it concluded.

In a separate note, Clarkson Platou Hellas said that “the increase in activity that was expected after the Eid festivities has not materialised as of yet and in hindsight this has not been a bad thing since local sentiment is still weak particularly as another rumour surrounding the Bangladeshi budget indicating that the 15% VAT on the importing of vessels for recycling may actually go through, There has only been a trickle of supply so far except for the occasional larger LDT sized tanker, to keep the market from grinding to a complete halt at present. However with falling Capesize freight rates, we could start to see vessels emerging from this sector which has lain dormant compared to last year where 67 had already been sold for recycling compared to the mere 19 so far this year. Although looking across to Europe there have been further rises in the Turkish recycling market after USD has been weakening against the Turkish Lira and as well as strong demand from local steel mills, this could continue with the supply of tonnage from geographically positioned vessels in the Mediterranean continuing to be sparse and not meeting demand locally that is needed”.

Meanwhile, Allied Shipbroking reiterated that “some slight improvement in terms of activity was being noted this past week, with the number of demo candidates being circulated showing signs of new life. This may well end up being the markets undoing, with the increased availability likely to allow for a softening in prices being quoted by cash buyers. The market seems to now be mainly moving by Indian and Pakistani breakers, with Bangladeshi buyers being taken out of the current competition by the ongoing dispute with regards to the proposed tax hikes. In terms of local steel prices, we are seeing a fairly stable market for the time being, however this has not convinced for any speculative buying to take place over the past two weeks, showing the jitters being felt by most buyers given that we are now firmly in the monsoon season and appetite amongst breakers is relatively subdued”, it concluded.

Source: hellenic shipping news. 13 July 2017

Marine services companies in Sydney Harbour are busy, growing, but not shipbreaking:

Officials with McKeil Marine and Heddle Marine Services say Sydney Harbour is ideally located to take advantage of the growing need for tugboats, barges and ship repairs in the Atlantic region.

Mike Moore Heddle Marine
Mike Moore, regional manager of commercial interests for Heddle Marine Service's East Division in Sydney, stands on the deck of a barge that is being repurposed at the company's wharf in Sydport Industrial Park. The barge was used to service the oil and gas industry off Newfoundland, and will soon be used to service a mining company after the steel and lumber are taken off the deck, to be replaced with another configuration the client has requested. (TOM AYERS / Local Xpress)

SYDNEY — The wharf in Sydport Industrial Park is busy and getting busier, with repairs, maintenance and recycling of tug boats, barges and ships.

One activity that is not happening — and can't happen due to the lack of infrastructure — is shipbreaking, officials with McKeil Marine and Heddle Marine Services told Local Xpress on Friday during a tour of the wharf and the vessels tied up alongside.

"We are in marine services," said Mike Moore, regional manager of commercial interests for Heddle Marine's East Division. "We don't do shipbreaking.

"We're not involved in any way with scrapping a vessel. What falls within our wheelhouse is ship repair and ship maintenance."

McKeil, a related but separate company, operates tugboats and barges, said company spokesman Jamie Connors. It began leasing the Sydport wharf and property from Cape Breton Regional Municipality in 2015 and has an option to buy it. Heddle followed shortly after that.

The wharf is silhouetted with a couple of cranes and is littered with lumber, aluminum, steel, a large generator that Moore said could power the community of New Waterford, and wires and cables.

It's also the home of the MV Princess of Acadia, the former Digby ferry that is waiting to be scrapped.

Other working ships are at the wharf for repairs, and the Arca 1, a former fuel supply barge from Montreal that ran aground in the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Breton in January, remains tied up at the dock six months later.

A spokesman for Transport Canada said in an email this week the Arca 1 can't leave port until the federal agency is satisfied.

"The vessel remains under detention while Transport Canada awaits information from the owner indicating that the required corrective actions have been completed and its propulsion equipment is operable, or other arrangements have been made to safely move the vessel," Pierre Manoni wrote.

Several barges used in the oil and gas industry off Newfoundland are also alongside the dock and are in various states of recycling, which Moore was quick to point out is not the same thing as shipbreaking.

Instead, the deck structures — including shipping containers, or "sea cans" as they are called in the business — are removed and the barges are then cleaned up and new structures are added, depending on the needs of the client, said Moore.

For example, one of the barges was used to move equipment in the oil and gas industry, and the deck is being reconfigured to move different equipment for a mining company.

All kinds of equipment and materials are also removed from the vessels and are inspected and reused or recycled. Heddle Marine resells sea cans, fire extinguishers, scrap metal and other materials removed from the barges.

"We don't scrap it and throw it away," said Moore. "We reuse it."

Some of the materials are used to manufacture ladders and gangways that connect the barges to each other or to the dock, or other custom equipment the clients demand, he said.

Some of the lumber is reused in new deck structures, and some will be donated to local organizations such as the all-terrain vehicle club or the groups that maintain the Baille Ard and Coxheath Hills trails.

Hazardous materials are also removed and disposed of at the proper facilities, Moore said.

A spokesman for Marine Recycling Corp., the company that won a federal tender to scrap the former Digby ferry at a cost of $2.6 million, told Local Xpress this week that shipbreaking in Sydney Harbour was a possibility, but that no decision had been made yet.

Moore said Sydney Harbour simply doesn't have the facilities or infrastructure required to cut up and scrap a large ship. But it can be decommissioned and prepared for towing to another facility with shipbreaking capabilities, such as the Marine Recycling location in Ontario.

The MV Miner, a Great Lakes barge that ran aground off Scatarie Island in 2011, was scrapped where it landed and was budgeted to cost $12 million, but reportedly cost around $18 million, including the cost of containing the work site, removing hazardous materials and restoring the environment after the ship was cut apart and the metal was hauled away.

The Arca 1, a flat-bottomed fuel barge powered by twin outboard motors that many observers say should never have been allowed to head out into the open ocean, is still being detained in port by Transport Canada. Moore said Heddle Marine was contracted by the owners and their insurance company to prepare the vessel for moving, which is expected to occur soon.

The masts and other tall parts of the deck structure have been carefully cut down and secured, and the hull has been outfitted so that a specially designed ship can attach straps and lift the Arca 1 on board for transportation to Mexico, where the owners plan to reattach the deck structures and put the fuel barge to use, he said.

Heddle has 25 employees ranging in age from 22 to 67, he said, and most are Cape Bretoners who had been working out of province but wanted to come home.

John Sullivan, the company's occupational health and safety officer, said morale among the workers is very high.

"I worked away from home for 14 years and didn't realize how much I lost with family," he told Local Xpress. "Now, I'm home. With the opportunity this company has given me, I'm proud to be home."

Eight of the company's workers are Indigenous, and under a deal with Nova Scotia Community College and the Mi'kmaw Economic Benefits Office, trainees are given an opportunity to learn skills and gain practical experience, said Moore.

"The only way we're going to grow is to invest in people," he said.

A Whitney Pier native who has worked in the financial services industry and in economic development, Moore has heard recent questions and comments about the possibility of shipbreaking in Sydport, and said he was happy to dispel that notion.

"We want to be open and honest and transparent here," Moore said. "We're building work here for our employees. We're actually trying to do something good for Cape Breton."

Both McKeil and Heddle buy a lot of supplies from local companies and employ Cape Bretoners as much as possible, he said.

And while the oil and gas sector in the Atlantic region is winding down, he said, there are plenty of other opportunities for marine services locally, including the cruise ship industry, Marine Atlantic, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Donkin mine.

Port facilities in Halifax, Saint John, N.B. and St. John's, N.L., are all busy and there's room in the market for services based in Sydney, which is also ideally located to pick up some of the slack, said Moore.

"There's a lot of ships that go past Cape Breton," he said. "Vessels are always going to encounter emergency situations. Like your car, they'll have breakdowns or need service. I really do believe we're going to continue to grow by leaps and bounds."

Source: local xpress. 15 July 2017

Turkey Proactive on Ship Recycling Convention:

Progress towards the Hong Kong Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (2009) has been slow. However, Turkey, one of the world's leading ship recyclers, has again shown its willingness to meet the requirements of the Convention with another yard achieving a statement of compliance.

ClassNK issued the statement to a ship recycling facility in Izmir, Turkey, Isiksan Ship Recycling and Trading this week. Lloyd's Register has already issued six such statements to other yards.

There are only 22 yards in Turkey, and the Turkish Administration has been proactive, having already taken its ratification of the Convention through its Parliament. The Turkish Ambassador is expected to deposit the instrument of ratification at IMO soon. Furthermore, the Turkish Ministry of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communication has played an active role in the drafting of the Convention.

Although the Hong Kong Convention has yet to enter into force, Isiksan has carried out substantial improvements to its facility in a bid toward safer and greener ship recycling as well as developed the Ship Recycling Facility Plan required for a competent authority’s certification according to the Convention.

The Hong Kong Convention intends to address all the issues around ship recycling, including the fact that ships sold for scrapping may contain environmentally hazardous substances such as asbestos, heavy metals, hydrocarbons, ozone-depleting substances and others. It also addresses concerns raised about the working and environmental conditions at many of the world's ship recycling locations.

The text of the Hong Kong Convention was developed over three and a half years, with input from IMO Member States and relevant non-governmental organizations, and in co-operation with the International Labour Organization and the Parties to the Basel Convention.

Regulations in the new Convention cover: the design, construction, operation and preparation of ships so as to facilitate safe and environmentally sound recycling without compromising the safety and operational efficiency of ships; the operation of ship recycling facilities in a safe and environmentally sound manner; and the establishment of an appropriate enforcement mechanism for ship recycling, incorporating certification and reporting requirements.

Upon entry into force of the Hong Kong Convention, ships to be sent for recycling will be required to carry an inventory of hazardous materials, which will be specific to each ship. An appendix to the Convention provides 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.

The Convention will enter into force 24 months after the date on which the following conditions are met:

* Ratification by 15 states,
*  Representation by 40 percent of world merchant shipping (by gross tonnage), and
* A combined maximum annual ship recycling volume not less than three percent of the combined tonnage of the ratifying states.

So far, Belgium, Congo, France, Panama Denmark and Norway have ratified the Convention. Some believe the Convention’s entry into force could be nearly 10 years away, after many of the world’s most asbestos-laden ships have already been recycled. Others more optimistically expect its entry into force in five years.

Source: maritime-executive. 12 July 2017

Louis Kahn-designed floating concert hall in danger of demolition:

Without a buyer, the architect’s singular steel ship soon headed for scrapyard

One of the weirder projects in architect Louis Kahn’s body of work may be facing an untimely end. The unique Point Counterpoint II, a 195-foot-long floating concert hall commissioned by the American Wind Symphony Orchestra, may dock for the last time in its present form. Without a new buyer, the concert hall may soon be torn off and turned into scrap at the end of the month, with the underlying barge turned into a simple vessel to move goods.

The boat is an extreme outlier in the Kahn oeuvre, one dominated by powerful, towering modernist architecture such as the Salk Institute. The stainless steel barge first set sail during 1976. Conductor Robert Austin Boudreau asked his friend Kahn to design the unique floating music hall in the ‘60s. The project was finished after the architect’s passing in 1974, just as the country’s birthday celebration reached a fevered pitch, and served as a bold, whimsical way to celebrate the Bicentennial. Ever since, it’s helped the group “make cultural waves on the waterfront,” serving as a mobile venue.

The centerpiece of the double-hulled, self-propelled river showboat is the hydraulically-operated 25-foot-tall stage that opens up like a clam shell when the boat is docked and ready for a performance, and lowers after concerts so the vessel can slip under bridges.

Since debuting in Biloxi, Mississippi, in 1976, the odd-looking ship has logged serious miles on rivers, lakes, and oceans, docking and hosting performances in numerous waterfront locations across the Unites States, as well as along Northern European Rivers and the Caribbean, Baltic, and Irish seas. In 1989, it even sailed to Russia and performed near Saint Petersburg.

It’s not a fast boat by any means, with a top speed of 6-8 knots depending on the current. But it’s a big advance on the symphony’s previous vessel. The first Point Counterpoint, which Boudreau purchased for $4,000, was a sunken vessel dredged up from the bottom of a river in Pittsburgh.

According to a recent letter in the New York Review of Books written by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, after five decades, Boudreau has decided he can’t pay for upkeep anymore. Unless a buyer appears by the end of July, the boat will be broken down for scrap in a Louisiana shipyard. Ma calls the ship, “a powerful, living testament to American creativity and to the elemental role that culture plays in human life.”

The ship is currently tied up in Ottawa, Illinois, where Boudreau and others have sought potential buyers. In 2015, the conductor suggested making the ship a part of the first Chicago Architecture Biennial, having it appear on the Riverwalk for a concert, and even discussed the potential of selling it to the City of Chicago.

Source: curbed. 14 July 2017

12 July 2017

Platform publishes South Asia Quarterly Update #13

Brussels, 12 July 2017 - There were a total of 210 ships broken in the second quarter of 2017. 158 of these ships ended up on South Asian beaches for dirty and dangerous breaking [1]. The Platform was able to document five accidents at the shipbreaking yards in Chittagong, Bangladesh, between April and June, which led to the death of four workers and the injury of two. 

Ishaq worked as a winch operator and died struck by a cable at the BBC Steel Shipbreaking/KR yard. This is the second fatal accident this year at BBC Steel. Zishan died in an accident at the Ratanpur Steel Re-Rolling mills where iron plates from the ships are transformed for the construction industry. In Jamuna Shipbreaking yard, the Platform reported in May about the death of Shahinoor who fell from the Hanjin Rome, the first ship arrested after the bankruptcy of the Korean container giant Hanjin Shipping. This ship was sold on auction by the Singaporean courts following the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping and should be a harrowing wake-up call to courts and bankruptcy administrators that there are human consequences of selling ships for the highest return price to the beaches. During a nightshift on 21 May, Shochindro Das died when he was hit by an iron pipe. He was working as a cutter helper in the Khawja yard, which shares owner with Kabir Steel. Working during night shifts without protective equipment are particularly graving circumstances that sadly witness of the extremely harsh conditions workers face at the shipbreaking yards in Chittagong. Local sources are claiming that Shochindro Das was only 15 years old, whilst the officially reported age was 26. The Platform will investigate these serious allegations. Child labour at the Bangladesh shipbreaking yards is illegal under Bangladesh law and also under the ILO’s Convention on Worst Forms of Child Labour.

The worst dumping country this quarter was Germany with 16 beached ships, a consequence of the multiple bankruptcies due to the toxic financing that has been characteristic of the German shipping industry. In June, German public television channel ARD documented the appalling conditions under which German ships are broken in Bangladesh. The other leading dumping nations were Singapore with 12 ships, Greece with 9, and South Korea with 8. Though 45 out of the 158 beached vessels this quarter were European-controlled, only four of these had a European flag.

Legislation at the international and European level to regulate the disposal of ships is based on flag state jurisdiction. The flags of the worst dumping countries were however rarely or not used at end-of-life. Flags of convenience, in particular the grey- and black-listed ones under the Paris MOU, are used by cash buyers and ship owners to send ships to the worst breaking locations. Nearly a third (49) of all the ships sent to South Asia this quarter changed flag to typical end-of-life registries only weeks before hitting the beaches: St Kitts & Nevis, Comoros, Palau, Djibouti, Niue and Togo. These flags are not typically used during the operational life of ships and offer ‘last voyage registration’ discounts. They are grey and black-listed due to their poor implementation of international maritime law.

There were five cases where the ships in question were sent to South Asia in breach of the EU Waste Shipment Regulation [2]. In Bangladesh, the Platform was successful in taking legal action to halt the breaking of the FPSO North Sea Producer which was illegally exported from the UK in 2016. The Platform also alerted this quarter the Brazilian government of several vessels exported to the beaching yards from Brazil in clear breach of UNEP’s Basel Convention.

The worst company was the Singaporean Continental Shipping Line that had six Liberian-flagged vessels that all changed flag to St Kitts & Nevis or Comoros and were beached in South Asia. Quantum Pacific is a close runner-up on second place for worst dumping practices, with four ships sold to Pakistan and Bangladesh. Quantum, owned by Idan Ofer, son of the late shipping mogul Sammy Ofer, has been under the Platform’s radar before as the worst dumper of 2015. The worst dumper of 2016 was UK-based Zodiac Maritime, run by Idan’s brother, Eyal Ofer.

The figures of this quarter not only show how legislation based on flag state jurisdiction will fail in changing the deplorable shipbreaking practices of the shipping industry, they also show that companies such as Quantum and Zodiac have no shame in continuing to exploit vulnerable workers in South Asia for the sake of extra profits.  


[1] During the second quarter 2017, the following number of vessels were broken in other locations: 26 in Turkey, 22 in China, and 4 in the rest of the world.

[2] German Gebab Konzeptions- und Treuhandgesellschaft mbH & Company KG owned GURU; Chilean Naviera Ultranav Limitada owned HAPPY FELLOW; US based Diamond Offshore Drilling Incorporated owned SPUR; Romanian S.C. Grup Servicii Petroliere S.A. owned FALCON; and Italian Argo S.r.l. owned ALICA.

Director and Founder
NGO Shipbreaking Platform
Tel.: +32 (0)26094419

Source: NGO Shipbreaking Platform

11 July 2017

The ups and downs of container vessel scrapping as charter rates rise and fall:

Alphaliner recently downgraded its projection for containership demolitions this year after an improvement in charter hire rates coincided with a dip in steel scrap prices.

The combination encouraged some shipowners to defer some vessel recycling, it said. Hitherto scrapping was on track to pass last year’s all-time record of 650,000 teu.

However the situation may change yet again.

So far this year, Alphaliner has recorded 92 containerships, for a capacity of 280,260 teu, sold for scrap.

However, it expects a pickup in scrapping in the coming months, as evidence increasingly suggests that the recent recovery in the charter market as “already reversing” after a surge in the second quarter associated with the transition requirements of the new alliances.

Indeed, Alphaliner reported that charter rates had “nosedived” for tonnage over 5,500 teu, and that the rest of the market was “following an uninspiring course” as a consequence of “uneven demand across most vessel types and sizes”.

According to its data, currently there are 37 panamax vessels of 4,000-5,000 teu unemployed, 25 anchored in cold lay-up, either awaiting a sustained improvement in charter rates or for scrap prices to become more attractive.

Daily hire rates for panamax vessels touched a sub-economic rock bottom of mid-$4,000 at the end of 2016, but had recovered to around $10,000 per day by April , before softening recently to about $8,500 as alliance-driven demand evaporated.

This still potentially enables shipowners that acquired panamax vessels at distressed prices to produce a return; but for the owners that paid top dollar, $8,500 a day is unlikely to cover operating costs, resulting in these vessels likely to become demolition candidates.

Alphaliner also noted that scrapping could receive a further boost from the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention on 8 September. Ships will be required to “manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water”.

Owners of older vessels will need to pay for an expensive retrofit, installing ballast water treatment systems (BWTS) in order to pass classification surveys.

Technical advances are said to be supporting lower prices, but reports of BWTS estimates seen by The Loadstar have ranged from $500,000 to $3m, depending on ship size.

In its recent casualty review, insurer and risk consultant Allianz Global Corporate & Speciality expressed concern that the new ballast rules “could have a significant impact” on already financially stressed shipowners.

Indeed, in the absence of a new surge in demand and a resulting sustained hike in daily hire rates, the cost of installing a ballast water system could be the tipping point for containership owners to “wave the white flag” and consign their vessels to the scrapyard.

Source: the load star. 15 June 2017

Brownsville ship recycling yard has new owners and new name

Aerial view of 70 acre SteelCoast facility

MAY 2, 2017 – The Brownsville, Texas, ship recycling and scrap processing facility formerly known as ESCO Marine is reopening under new ownership.

Hilco Redevelopment Partners, a unit of Hilco Global (Hilco), and MCM Marine Services, an affiliate of MCM Management Corp. (MCM), acquired the assets in U.S. Bankruptcy Court proceedings, presided over by Judge David R. Jones, following chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding filed in late 2015.

Hilco and MCM have formed a joint venture company under the name SteelCoast (www.steelcoastus.com) with a new management and operations team to begin running the business immediately.

SteelCoast will immediately commence the work of dismantling the decommissioned aircraft carrier USS Saratoga and former MARAD vessels Shenandoah and Yellowstone.

Hilco Redevelopment Partners EVP and SteelCoast Board Member, Roberto Perez said, "Putting a deal together to acquire and relaunch this unique ship recycling and scrap processing business was complex, especially given the nature of the assets and our goal of maintaining key U.S. Government client relationships. Following a lengthy diligence process, we are confident that SteelCoast has a very substantial growth path."

Rob Mardigian, CEO of MCM and SteelCoast Board Member, said, "Hilco and MCM have become very proficient at identifying new opportunities for industrial facilities that many have viewed as too challenging to tackle."

SteelCoast will be one of the largest and most technologically advanced reclamation, remediation and recycling operations in North]America. The Brownsville, Texas facility, which has already undergone over one million dollars in renovations and improvements, will provide a complete end to end solution including recycling of large oceangoing vessels (both military and non-military) from around the world. SteelCoast will also dismantle decommissioned, idled or underutilized oil rigs, train locomotives, railcars, as well as other industrial and commercial sources of recyclable metals.

Additionally, SteelCoast will process automobiles and other light metal products in its 4500 HP shredder. These types of reclamation and recycling projects allow for the scrap processing of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals during the dismantling process.

SteelCoast will then work to process and resell the scrap to be used in various other manufacturing industries.

Hilco and MCM have installed Mr. Kris Wood as CEO at SteelCoast and is in the process of adding an experienced operations and management team.

Working with Mr. Wood over a number of months, SteelCoast has developed a detailed business plan which includes an investment in sales support to build upon its client base, which includes contracts with the U.S. Navy and marketing and reselling of the recycled materials. SteelCoast also has immediate plans to invest millions of dollars more into the infrastructure, berths, technology and equipment to ensure the facility is a leading state of the art, world class ship recycling and scrap processing facility.

Mr. Wood has considerable experience within the ship recycling and scrap processing industry. A lifelong South Texas resident, he worked at the former company for over 12 years, adding new management responsibilities throughout his career.

Mr. Wood has led several key team projects over the years including oversight of key U.S. Navy and MARAD initiatives.

Mr. Wood said, "I understand that building a hardworking and trusted employee base is vital. I'm excited that SteelCoast will bring back hundreds of jobs to the community which knows this business well."

The company indicated that it would have approximately 130 employees by the end of May 2017, with plans to hire 80 – 90 more in the coming months.

Mr. Eduardo A. Campirano, Port Director & CEO of the Port of Brownsville said, "We couldn't be more pleased that Hilco and MCM will open its recycling facility and get business going again at SteelCoast."

Source: marinelog. 02 May 2017

10 July 2017

UK ‘takes the lead’ in recycling warships

The UK has taken the lead in recycling warships, according to a report by the Disposal Services Authority (DSA) on the recycling of the former warship HMS Endurance.

The recycling process for the ship was won after a competitive tender by LEYAL Ship Recycling of Turkey. The process resulted in 95.04% of the total materials being recycled or reused.

HMS Endurance was a Class 1 icebreaker which served as a Royal Navy ice patrol ship between 1991 and 2008. It ceased operational service in April 2012 and was made available for disposal to the DSA in June 2015.

In July 2015 DSA gave advance notice of the vessel for further use or recycling, nothing that it would require ‘considerable investment’ due damage caused by extensive flooding in 2008.

As part of the tender process, the DSA convened a Ship Recycling Evaluation Committee including representatives from the Maritime Coastal Agency and the DSA to assess the tender responses against set criteria. Prospective purchasers were required to produce a detailed Ship Recycling Plan, demonstrating their understanding of requirements involved in ship dismantling, which included environmental plans, and facilities and dismantling methodology.

After being awarded the contract, LEYAL Ship Recycling was required to provide a monthly breakdown of the outturn of metals and waste during the recycling programme. Audits were conducted by DSA staff which included a physical inspection of the yard in Aliaga, Turkey. Photographic evidence was also provided at ‘key stages’ of the dismantling process.

An Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) was produced at the start of the project to ‘identify hazards’ contained in the vessel which was compared with the final outturn figures reported to the DSA by LEYAL.

An outturn of materials was communicated to the DSA on a monthly bases. The DSA found, in summary of this information, just over 3,700 tonnes of material were sold or recycled, which was 95.04% of the total materials. This included over 3,500 tonnes of ferrous metals.

The displacements and weights in tonnes of the lightship was 4,050 tonnes, with an estimated metal weight of 3,200 tonnes. Of this, just over 193 tonnes were disposed of.

The DSA said ex-HMS Endurance was completely recycled on the 29 August 2016.

Following the completion of the project, the DSA said: “The report will be sent out to senior internal stakeholders and a growing number of other foreign Governments as they view the UK MOD as the lead when it comes to recycling warships.”

The Disposal Services Authority (DSA) is the organisation within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) that has sole authority to dispose of all MOD surplus equipment within the UK and overseas.

According to the DSA, its aim is to sell surplus ships for further use but where this is not possible – for example when ships are no longer seaworthy and only suitable for recycling – its objectives are to ensure that the vessel is recycled in a safe and environmentally sound manner, in compliance with its legal responsibilities as a producer of waste.

Source: letsrecycle.com. 13 June 2017