20 September 2017

Ship breaking zoning in CBRM (Cape Breton Regional Municipality) questioned

Northside councillor wants facilities ‘listed in black and white’

SYDNEY, N.S. - There will be no ship breaking in North Sydney

That was the word from CBRM planning director Malcolm Gillis after Dist. 2 Coun. Earlene MacMullin questioned whether municipal zoning permitted such activity at the Canadian Marine Engineering ship repair yard located on the Northside waterfront.

MacMullin said her confusion on the issue stemmed from a 2016 Transport Canada report that listed CME’s North Sydney location as a site where ship breaking could be carried out on steel-hulled vessels up to 2,500 tonnes.

“That’s what prompted me to ask what was going on, so when I asked the question Malcolm Gillis of the planning department responded in an email that CBRM zoning doesn’t allow it, but unfortunately later that same day I got another call from someone inside saying that they can (break ships in North Sydney),” said MacMullin, who added she felt compelled to get clarification on the matter during this week’s council meeting.

Gillis reiterated his initial response stating again that Cape Breton Regional Municipality zoning does not allow ship breaking at CME’s North Sydney facility.

Although the question was answered, MacMullin still insisted on a staff report on the issue.

“Originally, I was seeking clarification for the North Sydney CME facility … I figured I would ask for it all as it would clear up any issues for fellow councillors further down the road. As a result of this staff paper we will have it listed in black and white what facilities can and cannot (handle ship breaking),” she said.

Earlier this month it was announced that Marine Recycling Corp. had won a $12.6-million federal contract to dismantle two former Canadian Navy ships. The work on the HMCS Preserver and the former research vessel CFAV Quest is to be carried out at Sydport Industrial Park in Edwardsville. The former is docked at Sydport, while the latter has yet to arrive.

Source: cape breton post. 16 August 2017

European Commission reports on feasibility of a financial instrument-NGOs urge that it is necessary to hold the shipping industry accountable

The European Commission released its report on the viability of a financial incentive for sustainable ship recycling under the EU Ship Recycling Regulation this week. Whilst it acknowledges the benefits for clean and safe ship recycling such an incentive would bring, the European Commission has decided to wait with its introduction. NGOs urge the EU to take action now as it is well documented that ship owners will with ease be able to circumvent the EU Ship Recycling Regulation by simply swapping the flag of their vessel to that of a non-EU State.

The report of the European Commission is based on the study which was conducted by Ecorys, DNV-GL and the University of Rotterdam/Erasmus, and published at the end of 2016. The proposed instrument in the study is in the form of a licence which each ship, regardless of its flag, needs to acquire in order to enter EU ports. This licence can be bought monthly, yearly, or every 5 years, depending on the trading requirements, and will be ship-specific. At the end of the ship’s life, the money spent on buying the licences will have been put aside and can be paid back to the last owner of that ship once it is recycled at a facility which is approved according to the EU Ship Recycling Regulation. Such an incentive will offset the higher profits made when selling to substandard shipbreaking yards and ensure the proper recycling of EU-trading ships regardless of their flags.

In the report published on 8 August, the European Commission sees this system of the Ship Recycling Licence as a workable solution if it is demonstrated that there are many ships that will flag out to circumvent the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, thereby weakening its effectiveness. All EU-flagged vessels will have to be recycled in an EU-approved facility starting from the end of 2018 at the latest. Only once it is clear what the effects of the EU List are on the recycling choices of shipowners, will the Commission consider whether to go ahead with introducing the Ship Recycling Licence. Therefore, if shipowners choose to recycle their vessels responsibly in a facility on the EU List and do not flag out in order to circumvent the Ship Recycling Regulation, the Commission believes that it will not be necessary to introduce a financial mechanism.

However, flagging out at end-of-life is a practice which is already widespread. Most shipowners sell their obsolete vessels to so-called cash buyers. These scrap-dealers become the new owners of the ships and both re-name and re-flag the vessels for their last voyage to the beaching yards in South Asia. Particularly popular registries amongst the cash buyers are the Paris MoU grey- and black-listed flags of Comoros, Palau and St. Kitts and Nevis – flags that are known for their poor implementation of laws governing labour rights and environmental protection at sea. Maersk also already threatened that it would flag out its fleet from the Danish registry if the Alang beaching yards they have recently chosen to use are not approved by the EU. Swapping the flag of a ship is easy and makes it very simple for cash buyers and shipowners to circumvent the law. The motivation for doing so is also simple: dirty and dangerous shipbreaking brings higher profits due to the lack of investments in infrastructure, illicit handling of hazardous wastes and extremely poor working conditions. For these reasons the NGO Shipbreaking Platform urges the EU Commission to not wait for the effects of the EU List, but instead show that it intends to take all measures possible to change the current deplorable shipping practices and commit now to making a legislative proposal to introduce a financial incentive.

“The huge benefit of this licence scheme is that it will also apply to non-EU flagged ships, meaning that the scope of the EU Ship Recycling Regulation will be much wider and will truly be a driving force for change in the shipping industry”, says Ingvild Jenssen, Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “Those shipowners that are already taking responsibility for their end-of-life fleet should be supportive of the Ship Recycling Licence as it will create a level playing field ensuring that also their competitors pay the price of clean and safe ship recycling,” she adds.

Legislation based on flag state jurisdiction alone is far too easy to circumvent. That is why more policies aimed at improving the social and environmental performance of shipping is being enforced via port state control. The Ship Recycling Licence is as such in line with international trade law. Taking also into account the widespread acknowledgement that financial incentives are key in ensuring the success of environmental policies, it seems obvious that a return scheme for ships is needed to change the behavior of shipowners that currently earn profits at the detriment of workers’ health and lives and the environment.

Source: hellenic shipping news. 12 August 2017


Plank by plank, the Ship Restaurant floating along the horizon of Route 1 is expected to be torn apart in the next two weeks.

Ted Regnante, a local attorney representing developers who plan to construct retail space in its place, said asbestos remediation and the crafting of a rodent control plan has delayed the demolition of the iconic building.

“But the plan is going forward,” said Regnante. “They have been working with a contractor and within the next week to two weeks, they will start demolition of the ship.”

The property is owned by Ship Mall LLC, a division of Allston-based Micozzi Management Inc. It was last purchased in 2007 for $16.5 million.

Plans include a 2,500-square-foot freestanding branch building for East Boston Savings Bank, 7,500-square-feet of retail space, and a 2,500-square-foot drive-up restaurant and coffee shop.

Once the demolition commences, Regnante estimates the entire project will take about four to five months.

A bit further down Route 1, the construction of a 68-unit condominium project at 2 Broadway is slated to begin at the start of September, said Regnante. The building will be comprised of mostly two-bedroom units and is expected to take about a year to complete. Regnante believes the combination of the two projects will enhance the area and create a more usable space and foot traffic for businesses.

Last spring, the Lynnfield Historical Commission voiced support of the project, once architectural plans for the plaza including several touches meant to honor the legacy of the nautical-themed building were unveiled.

The mast and other characteristics of the ship, including windows and glass on the second floor, the existing eagle and six stars, and the red and blue color scheme, will be included in the new construction.

“We’re creating some mementos for people to remember and people are excited about it,” said Regnante. “I think it’s going to be very successful.”

Source: item live. 11 August 2017

Ship recycling raised at CBRM council

Nobody wants a shipwrecker in their front yard.

The HMCS Preserver, shown here in drydock at Halifax Shipyards, will soon be broken up at the Sydport Industrial Park. (Staff)
The HMCS Preserver, shown here in drydock at Halifax Shipyards, will soon be broken up at the Sydport Industrial Park. (Staff)

The mere word conjures up images of leaking oil, rusted debris and overseas workers whose lives, in the absence of environmental regulation, are shortened by heavy metals and contaminated fluids. That may have driven Coun. Earlene McMullin’s displeasure during the Cape Breton Regional Municipality council meeting Tuesday.

“I’ve got a little bit of shake in my voice because it’s killing me to sit here and spend council’s time to get clarification on whether ships can be destroyed downtown on Commercial Street,” McMullin said. “I’ll breathe through the enragement, but it just seems so backward that I have to do that.”

McMullin was complaining about differing opinions she received from CBRM staff on whether Canadian Marine Engineering — which bought a waterfront park in downtown North Sydney from the municipality two years ago, bulldozed it and built a marine lift and repair shop — was legally entitled to also cut up ships for scrap metal.

So she asked again in public: “Where CME is located on Commercial Street, does the zoning permit either recycling or breaking of steel-hulled vessels, or any vessel, for that matter?”

“No,” answered planning director Malcolm Gillis.

The rumour that CME wanted to break ships in McMullin’s neighbourhood was sparked by a Transport Canada report that mentioned the company’s capacity for recycling ships of up to 2,500 tonnes.

But as Coun. Kendra Coombs pointed out, CME staff said they don’t intend to break ships in North Sydney, and as Gillis noted, CME owns facilities at other locations, including Dartmouth and Victoria, B.C. where it might be interested in doing that.

The not-in-my-backyard attitude to shipwrecking has not spread to the Sydport Industrial Park, where another company, Marine Recycling, began this week to break up the newly-arrived HMCS Preserver.

The first ship to come to Sydney to “die” in decades, the Preserver is around the 130th for MRC, which was founded by Wayne Elliot in Port Colborn, Ont.

Elliot hoped four years ago to expand to Sydney but after being denied two aged ferries from Marine Atlantic, which has a terminal in downtown North Sydney, he waited, knowing another chance would come along.

“Our federal government decided that Canadian-flagged vessels and government-owned vessels should be recycled in Canada to promote safe recycling as well as provide jobs and raw materials, and not ship those things offshore,” Elliot said.

“There are warships just coming to their end this year, and in a number of years down the road I suppose the frigates will start to be recycled. There are Coast Guard vessels and Department of Fishery vessels, and of course commercial vessels . . the biggest source of our work.”

In Sydney, MRC’s worksite is “not a very large space, really,” Elliot said. “A couple of acres and, of course, the dock. There won’t be materials stored on site. Once the material is processed . . . it will be shipped off site.

“Most of the ship components are metal. . .

“Metal is infinitely recyclable. What today is your vehicle may tomorrow be razor blades or something else. The beauty with metal recycling is the energy saving and of course the savings to the environment.”

When MRC recycles a ship, no part of it ends up in the water, he said. “Before we tow, liquids, oils or any water are removed from the vessel . . . We’ve done a number of successful tows since the new regulations and we’re very much in favour of them.

“When vessels do have accidents, sinkings, it’s those hydrocarbons that just keep on giving the carnage and so we’re fully supportive of that regulation.”

The company has had one major loss, in 2010, when a submarine caught fire as it was being dismantled, Elliot described that as a “freak accident” caused by floating debris.

“If safety is not first and foremost in this business, then one may not be in it too long. We’re very proud of our record. We’re the world’s oldest ISO certified ship recycler, since 2000.”

MRC was an unpaid consultant to Canada’s member of the Basel and Hong Kong Conventions when they were setting the rules and the policies around shipbreaking, Elliot said.

“It has become an environmental business, shipbreaking has. Other parts of the world that are sadly lacking in safety and environmental stewardship have begun to improve their operations. So, it’s all headed in the right direction.”

Source: the chronicle herald. 15 August 2017

ClassNK paves the way for HKC verification expansion to South-East Asia

Leading classification society ClassNK has completed the document review for a Ship Recycling Facility Plan (SRFP) submitted by Tsuneishi Ship Recycling (Negros), Inc. (TSRNI), verifying the facility to be in line with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 (HKC). This marks the first application by a recycling facility in South-East Asia submitted to ClassNK for verification, as well as the first facility designed to comply with the HKC standard from its planning stage.

TSRNI is planned for construction in Negros Occidental, the Philippines, and will be operated under the umbrella of Tsuneishi Group. In preparation for the completion of the facility, TSRNI developed the SRFP required to obtain certification by competent authority according to the HKC in the future. ClassNK reviewed the SRFP to examine that the document met with the HKC requirements. As the final part of the verification process, ClassNK will conduct the on-site inspection, including checks on facilities and actual recycling practices, when ship recycling work commences at TSRNI to confirm its processes conform to the SRFP.

Speaking on the occasion, ClassNK’s Junichi Hirata, Project Manager of Ship Recycling Team said: “The maritime industry needs appropriate capacity for the safe and environmentally sound ship recycling. We are delighted that TSRNI has chosen ClassNK to verify the facility and it practices. As the first South-East Asia initiative to carry out ship recycling in line with HKC, it represents a major step forward in our mission to promote and facilitate safe and environmentally-friendly ship recycling across the world. Utilizing experience and knowledge gained from our verification of facilities in Japan, China, India, and Turkey, we will proceed to verification process at TSRNI’s site with the same level of care and attention to detail to help promote safer and greener ship recycling throughout the world.”

Source: hellenic shipping news. 21 August 2017

Henna Scrapped in India:

The former HNA Henna has hit the beaches in India for scrapping, according to local sources.

Henna Scrapping

The 47,000-ton vessel was sold for scrap value earlier this year after a short service period with HNA in the Chinese market.

She originally launched in 1986 for Carnival Cruise Line as the newbuild Jubilee.

In 2004 she was transferred to P&O Cruises Australia as the Pacific Sun.

Eight years later she was sold to HNA, which started service with the ship in 2013 before winding down operations two years later.

Source: cruise industry news. 26 August 2017

One of the world’s most polluting industries has two years to clean up—and it’s woefully unprepared

The shipping industry, which ferries everything from food to gadgets around the globe, may be out of most people’s sight, but it is one of the world’s biggest polluters. It only produces 3% of carbon-dioxide emissions, but it produces 15% of sulfur, 13% of nitrogen, and 11% of particulate emissions.

A migrant washes as the passenger ship "Eleftherios Venizelos" leaves the port on the Greek island of Kos, August 19, 2015. A passenger ship carrying Syrian refugees set sail from the Greek island of Kos on Wednesday, heading for the mainland as authorities struggle to cope with a wave of arrivals. The Greek coast guard's office said the ship, which has acted as a floating accommodation and registration centre since Sunday, was heading for the northern port of Thessaloniki, Greece's second biggest city.   REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTX1OQH3

After much stalling, the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which regulates international shipping, has begun to address the shipping industry’s worldwide pollution problem. Starting in 2020, it has ruled that the sulfur content of shipping fuel must go down from 3.5% of fuel weight to 0.5%. The numbers might seem small, but a new report from IHS Markit, a provider of market and financial data, suggests that both shipping companies and refineries are likely to face difficulties meeting the regulation.

“The two industries are vastly unprepared,” Sandeep Sayal of IHS Markit told Hellenic Shipping News. “Neither has made the necessary investments for compliance, which means that the 2020 implementation date will result in a scramble.”

To follow the regulations, ships will need cleaner fuels, such as marine gas oil, which are more expensive, or they’ll need to install equipment to clean up the dirtier fuels, such as heavy fuel oil, that they use right now. Based on oil prices in August, marine gas oil costs 1.5 times as much as heavy fuel oil.

FILE PHOTO: A worker holds a cup of heavy oil before it is shipped to the market south of Fort McMurray
A worker holds a cup of heavy oil before it is shipped to the market south of Fort McMurray, Alberta. (Reuters/Todd Korol)

Fuel accounts for as much as half of the operating costs for the shipping industry, according to David Lifschultz, CEO of Genoil, a company that upgrades heavy oil. He echoed the conclusion of the IHS Markit report, saying that the shipping industry is procrastinating on the problem of cleaning up its fuel. If the shipping industry makes a last-minute dash to use gas oil instead of fuel oil, it’ll make gas oil prices spike.

The economically smarter way out, Lifschultz argues, is to invest in equipment that can clean up fuel oil. Genoil offers such equipment, which can cost between $30 million and $70 million, depending on what other equipment is available to support the process of removing sulfur from fuel oil.

The process involves heating fuel oil to 700°C and reacting it with hydrogen in the presence of metal catalysts to aid the conversion. Much of the sulfur and nitrogen from the fuel is removed this way, and can be caught in scrubbers installed on the equipment, stopping it from entering the atmosphere. The process would produce its own carbon dioxide emissions, because it will burn some fuel for heat, but the reduction in total emissions from cleaner fuel would be greater.

The shipping industry is under pressure to find the cheapest possible way to comply with the new regulations, especially as it’s going through a rough patch. In February, for instance, South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping declared bankruptcy, and many other shipping companies have reported losses in 2016 and first half of 2017. The problem was overcapacity, as companies kept building bigger and bigger ships while demand didn’t increase at the same pace. If fuel costs, which have been quite low in the last few years, start to pile up, it could spell much bigger problem for the industry.

Still, even if the shipping industry reduces its emissions, there are other environmental problems it creates. Ship scrapping is a highly polluting exercise: asbestos, heavy metals, and oils are toxic. Most scrapping now happens in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh where environmental controls are lax and thus costs are lower.

Source: quartz. 29 August 2017

Paddlewheel Princess being cut up and sold for scrap:

Owner had wanted to run marijuana cruises with the boat

The Paddlewheel Princess is being chopped and sold for scrap after it was blackened by fire on May 9.

It was once a fixture on Winnipeg's rivers, but the Paddlewheel Princess is now about to be chopped up and sold for scrap.

The cruise ship, which for years carried 200 passengers per trip on lazy runs up and down Manitoba rivers, was damaged beyond repair by fire in Selkirk earlier this year and the ship's current owner hopes to recoup whatever profit he can from the boat by selling it for scrap.

"I have no choice, I mean, it's sitting in federal waterways and it'd be a matter of time until the federal government would come after me to get it out of there," said Philip Rowan, of his decision to scrap the boat and sell it for parts.

Paddlewheel Princess riverboat catches fire in suspicious blaze of 'epic proportions': Selkirk fire chief
Rowan, 63, says he's semi-retired and decided to buy the boat for $190,000 last spring with the intention of running "Bob Marley cruises" at night, where passengers would be able to smoke marijuana while touring the city's river system.

"It's going to be legal … you'd have every marijuana-freak in town on that thing," said Rowan of his plan. "The only way you can make money on the thing is to have it out on the river."

But that plan went up in smoke in May when a fire tore through the boat while it was moored in Selkirk. Police eventually charged four teens in connection to the blaze.

Rowan said the boat's previous owner, Steve Hawchuk, had done a lot of the work needed to get the Paddlewheel Princess back to its former glory, including adding a new engine, new propellers, and a new drive shaft. Rowan figures he would have had to spend another $100,000 for new paint and things like windows to get it back into the water for his pot-powered river trips.

"There was nothing serious, mechanically it was straight," he said.

Paddlewheel on fire

Paddlewheel Princess blaze lit by 4 teens, police say

Rowan had hoped to have the cruise ship back in operation by this June or July and had cancelled his insurance for the winter. He says he'd gone to get the boat reinsured three days before the fire, but it was still uninsured when it went up in flames.

Rowan hopes to have the boat cut up and scrapped in the next two weeks, but work has to be done to remove asbestos before the demolition can start.

Rowan has had to hire an environmental company to make sure the process is done safely, a septic company and a welding crew to get the work done before a wrecking crew comes in to crush the pieces that will finally be hauled into Winnipeg. Rowan hopes to have the work done by the end of September.


Need a boat? Paddlewheel Princess riverboat for sale — again

He estimates the total cost to demolish and scrap the ship will be $50,000.

The Paddlewheel Princess was constructed in 1966, a year after Winnipegger Ray Senft built its sister ship, the Paddlewheel Queen.

Source: cbc Canada. 19 September 2017

19 September 2017

‘Fake unions out to grab land in Gadani shipyard’

Musharraf Humayun, finance secretary of the Ship-breaking Labour Union, Gadani, said on Tuesday theirs was the only labour union of the ship-breaking industry and that all other labour unions were just an attempt to disgrace their union.

Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club, he said the Gadani ship-breaking yard was spread over 132 plots along the Mekran coast with 39 companies engaged in the endeavour of ship-breaking.

There was a yard on which a major accident took place on November 1, 2016, and since then there were fake groups who had an eye on this piece of land and masqueraded as leaders of workers, thus misleading the work force, he added.

Humayun alleged that these elements sponsored unauthorised press conferences and claimed to be the flag-bearers of the workers’ rights, which, he said, was utter poppycock.

He claimed that the Ship-breaking labour Union, Gadani, was the sole representative of the ship-breaking workers and the sole CBA, but fake labour unions were misstating the version of the genuine union.

At this juncture, Humayun identified the person who was the focus of his ire, Nasir Mansoor, deputy secretary general of The Federation of Pakistan Trade Unions, and debunking Nasir’s claim that the hospital at the ship-breaking yard had only one ambulance, he said that there were now 22 ambulances.

He said that contrary to Mansoor’s claims, all health and safety provisions were there at the yard. Referring to the tragedy of November 1, 2016, wherein 26 people burned to death and four are still missing, he said that the next-of-kin of the casualties had been given Rs1.1 million each by the ship-breakers’ association and Rs5,00,000 each  from the government-constituted Workers Welfare Fund, with Rs50,000 each for those with minor injuries and Rs100,000 each for those with grievous injuries.

He claimed that there was total adherence to environmental laws at the yard.  Taking his focus away from Mansoor, he called on the government to take care of the problem of the non-arrival of tankers at the ship-breaking yard after the November 1, 2016, tragedy.

The process for the other ships had become so expensive, he said, that very few ships were coming. He called upon the government to tackle these two problems.

Source: the news. 09 August 2017

HC imposes restriction on scrapping ‘toxic’ ship MT Producer till Oct 5

The High Court today imposed restrictions on scrapping MT Producer, an imported scrap vessel at a ship-breaking yard in Chittagong, till October 5 this year, for suspected presence of radioactive material in one of its pipes.

The court also sought for the assessment report on whether there is radiation in the ship from the expert committee formed by the government following a prayer from Janata Steel Mill (Ship Breaking Yard), which purchased the ship for scrapping.

The government has been asked to submit the assessment report to the HC by October 5.

The court also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned to explain why giving a clearance certificate in favour of MT Producer should not be declared illegal.

The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Jahangir Hossain passed the order and the rule after hearing a petition filed by Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) seeking necessary order from it on the authorities not to break the toxic ship.

Bela recently submitted the petition as supplementary to a pending writ petition, saying that the representatives of the Department of Environment (DoE), Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission (BAEC), Bangladesh Atomic Energy Regulatory Authority (BAERA), and the Marine Port Initiative of Bangladesh Customs (MPIBC) have visited 11 points of the MT Producer and prepared a report based on their findings.

In the report, Gamma Radiation Dose Rate at one of the 11 points was found to be much higher than Background Radiation Level, which is harmful for public health, Bela said in the supplementary petition, adding that accidents might take place if the toxic ship is scrapped.     

Following the writ petition filed by Bela, the HC on June 8 had asked for the assessment reports from the four agencies on the presence of naturally occurring radioactive material in MT Producer.

Source: the daily star. 29 August 2017

Final journey for Aircraft Carrier ‘Prince of Asturias’

Surus Inversa, the company that owns the aircraft carrier “Príncipe de Asturias” (R-11), started work this morning on the Spanish Navy’s former flagship as it embarked on it’s final journey to Turkey where it will be dismantled.

This trip is expected to take 20 days, according to the company which specialises in ship recycling, After leaving the Military Arsenal of Ferrol the ship will be towedacross the Mediterranean to Turkey.

The final scrapping will take place at the Turkish shipyard Leyal Deltas, in the port of Aliaga. The Madrid Company Surus Inversa purchased the vessel at a military auction for 2.7 million euros.

Originally named Almirante Carrero Blanco, the Príncipe de Asturias, is an aircraft carrier that was the flagship of the Spanish Navy for 25 years (1988-2013). She was built in Bazan’s Shipyards and delivered to the Spanish Navy on 30 May 1988.

She was removed from the Official List of Ships of the Navy on December 13, 2013 when she became the victim of defence cuts, the Minister of Defence, Pedro Morenés, taking the decision to scrap the ship because of the economic situation of the country at the time, as its annual maintenance cost was said to be about 100 million euros per year.

Source: the leader. 09 August 2017

Legislative Reform Progresses for Bangladesh's Ship Recycling Industry

The Bangladeshi ship recycling industry is one of the world’s most important, second only to neighboring India in terms of volume, with an annual gross tonnage capacity of more than 8.8 million.

Bangladesh is actively implementing eco-friendly improvements to its ship recycling industry. So far, the government has sought international partnerships, technical and financial support to help and make the country’s ship recycling facilities greener and more sustainable. This was noted with appreciation by IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim on a recent visit to Bangladesh.

To aid in the management of the industry, the government published a set of rules on December 12, 2011. Chapter VIII states that if a yard owner is found to be negligent, they will be fined and will have to pay compensation for the death or serious injury of workers.

Additionally, the government, the IMO and the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS) have jointly implemented the first phase of the Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling in Bangladesh – Phase I (SENSREC) project.

Followed by site visits to ship recycling yards, stakeholders highlighted the successful completion of the five work packages under the SENSREC project. Speaking at a Dhaka meeting in February this year, Her Excellency Ms. Sidsel Bleken, Ambassador of Norway to Bangladesh, highlighted the significant progress made. “The SENSREC Project has achieved significant progress in terms of developing health, safety and environmental standards and appropriate training programs that should stimulate a sustainable ship recycling business in Bangladesh. Now, it is important to apply these measures, particularly the workers’ training program,” she said.

Bangladesh has also proposed a draft law for complying with the Hong Kong Convention. In July 2017, the cabinet has given its final approval to "The Bangladesh Ship Recycling Act, 2017." The law has provisions for tougher punishments. The proposed draft of Act is expected to be passed by the Parliament this year. 

Under the section 4 of the proposed Act, a separate zone will be established in Chittagong for the ship recycling industry, and owners would have to set up yards and conduct their activities within the zone. The industries will also have to abide by international laws and the Hong Kong Convention. A regulatory authority will monitor the industry, and if anyone imports, stocks or break ships without “No Objection Certificate” permission, they will be fined or imprisoned for a year or both.

In August 2017, a delegation from the IMO visited the PHP Ship-breaking and Recycling Yard at Sitakunda Upazila in Chittagong. There Kitack Lim voiced his satisfaction on the development of the sector and said that the ship recycling industry of Bangladesh has moved ahead remarkably over the last decade.

Organizations in Bangladesh continue to be enthusiastic about adopting eco-friendly ship recycling methods with the help of the IMO and other technical bodies with the aim of boosting worker welfare and reducing the risk of environment pollution. Their success will bring a new dimension to the industry.

Source: maritime-executive .16 November 2017

18 September 2017

EU tackles dirty business of recycling ships

For European shipowners faced with scrapping a tanker at the end of its working life, it’s a no-brainer: sell it for €3 million to be broken up for scrap on a beach in Bangladesh, or recycle it in an environmentally friendly shipyard that complies with EU standards — and get nothing.

The vast majority of EU shipowners choose the former option, often changing the flag of registry on their aging ships for just a few thousand euros — but now Brussels plans to crack down on a practice that is polluting beaches in the developing world and putting lives at risk.

With efforts to come up with financial incentives to get shipowners to choose EU-approved yards currently becalmed, the European Commission has decided to update a worldwide list of shipyards that meet European social and environmental standards — by this fall — and oblige owners of commercial vessels flying an EU country flag to use EU-compliant facilities for recycling by 2019.

NGOs fear those rules will remain largely toothless, because EU shipowners can simply change the flag of registry of their vessels for as little as €2,400 before sending them off to be scrapped in foreign yards that don’t meet EU standards.  Although 40 percent of the world’s fleet is controlled by EU entities, only around 20 percent fly a EU flag, a share that falls to 9 percent for end-of-life ships, according to a study by the European Commission.

“In theory, it should be very easy for European shipowners to pick a EU recognized yard, but the reality shows that the vast majority of EU-owned or EU-flagged end-of-life vessels end up for dangerous and dirty breaking on beaches of Bangladesh, India or Pakistan,” said Ingvild Jenssen, founder and director at NGO Shipbreaking Platform, a coalition of 19 organizations working to prevent pollution and unsafe working conditions caused by beaching — the practice of running old ships aground on third-world beaches.

Beaching is by far the most common shipbreaking method in South Asia, according to Shipbreaking Platform. It says 86 percent of the world’s end-of-life tonnage was broken on beaches in 2016. The practice is very polluting and the working conditions are “appalling,” Jenssen said.

According to the NGO, at least 22 workers were killed in Bangladeshi yards in 2016 and 29 suffered severe injuries. Last year saw the worst catastrophe in the history of the industry, when 28 workers were killed and more than 50 injured when an explosion and a massive fire ripped through a tanker beached in Gadani, Pakistan.

In Bangladesh, unskilled workers — many of them under 18 — cut vessels apart for an estimated $3 for a 12- to 16-hour working day, according to a report by the European Economic and Social Committee. The life expectancy for men in the shipbreaking industry is 20 years lower than for Bangladeshi men in the general population.

Most of a ship’s steel is coated with paint containing lead, mercury, zinc, arsenic and chromium, according to a study by the International Law and Policy Institute. The tides also wash out PCBs, asbestos and huge quantities of oil from beached ships.

Instead, EU rules mandate that approved facilities must have impermeable floors and dismantling must be done without the elements coming in contact with the sea or “any other permeable surface such as sand or gravel.”

But tough environmental standards and well-paid workers mean that shipowners shy away from using EU-approved yards.

“We are handicapped by the high costs of labor, social charges and taxes,” said Antonio Barredo, managing director of DDR Vessels, a Spanish decontamination, dismantling and recycling company.

Asian yards also have an advantage over their European rivals because they are closer to local steel industries. “The reason why the yards in Asia are interested in recycling the ships is because they use the scrap,” said Patrick Verhoeven, secretary-general of the European Community Shipowners’ Associations, an industry group. “There is a live steel scrap industry – which we do not have in Europe. It does not make economic sense to do it here.”

As a result, the French port of Bordeaux, one of 18 EU-approved facilities, currently dismantles one ship a year, which is usually a vessel owned by public entities.

“We have room for 10 ships a year,” said Patrick Brocart, director for shipyards at the port of Bordeaux. “Today we are a very small player.”

Money talks

Most European shipowners are taking a hard look at the bottom line when deciding what to do with their old vessels, and for now profit wins out over environmental worries.

In 2016, 328 vessels owned by EU entities or bearing EU flags were dismantled, of which 84 percent were beached in South Asia, Jenssen said.

According to the NGO, German shipowners were responsible for 97 ships rammed up on the beaches of South Asia out of a total of 99 vessels sold for demolition. Greece was responsible for 104 vessels sold to South Asian shipbreaking yards in 2016, the highest absolute number for an EU country.

In 2016, a total of 862 were dismantled worldwide — the bulk of them in only 5 countries.

India - 305
Bangladesh - 222
Pakistan - 141
Turkey - 92
China - 74
Rest of the world - 28

(Source: NGO Shipbreaking Platform)

One solution being mulled in Brussels is to give shipowners a financial incentive to use cleaner yards.

The idea would be to charge a fee to all ships calling at an EU port. The money collected over a ship’s lifetime would be refunded if it was eventually scrapped at an EU-approved yard. The scheme was supported by NGOs and the European shipyard industry, but strongly opposed by shipowners, who complained it would disrupt efforts for a global solution brokered by the International Maritime Organization. Although the organization adopted the Hong Kong Convention on the safe disposal of ships in 2009, it still hasn’t come into force because too few countries have ratified it. The association of international shipowners has only voluntary guidelines.

Verhoeven warned that even if the EU agrees on a financial incentive aimed at cancelling out the difference between dismantling in South Asia and using EU-approved yards, it would be ineffective because European yards have a capacity shortage – an argument yards here reject.

“We do have capacity in Europe, but it is not adequate to dismantle the big bunker vessels or container vessels,” he said. “And I do not think we will ever have it, unless a government or the EU decides to put money in creating these facilities.”

In the end, the Commission balked at introducing the fee, calling for “further analysis” of the measure’s compatibility with EU and international law.

Instead, the Commission is hoping moral persuasion does the trick — saying its updated list of shipyards, for which it has received 22 applications from outside the bloc, will still have a global impact. “Applications to the list have come from facilities in different regions of the world, including South Asia,” said a Commission spokesperson. “This suggests that the list will be a reference for the whole sector, irrelevant of flag.”

Source: politico. 23 August 2017