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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

India looking for improvements to the country’s ship recycling infrastructure

INTERTANKO and INTERCARGO have welcomed last week’s statement by the Indian Supreme Court, who have asked the Indian Government to suggest measures to improve the existing infrastructure available at Alang in Gujarat, and to codify existing guidelines and norms in ship recycling. "Environmental and safety plans in ship dismantling yards are an essential part of an internationally sustainable ship recycling industry," says INTERTANKO’s Environment Manager, Tim Wilkins. 

An international problem demands an international solution. Thus the raising of standards for recycling facilities, not just in India but world wide, will allow for a continuing competitive global market for the environmentally sustainable ship recycling industry. Undertakings to ensure effective health, safety and environmental practices in the demolition yards have been something that have been lacking on a global level. These developments complement the extensive efforts of the shipping industry to ensure the safe, sustainable and environmentally sound dismantling of ships, while also maintaining local industries and employment, which thrive not only on the steel but also on recycled equipment from these ships. 

INTERTANKO and INTERCARGO are firmly committed to the continuing advances (including the industry’s own interim measures such as harmonised hazardous materials inventories, and seeking yards with improved safety and environmental records) being made by the UN’s International Maritime Organization (IMO) as well as to seeking practical solutions to resolve the current human health and environmental problems experienced at some ship recycling facilities around the world. The draft legally binding instrument on ship recycling currently in front of the IMO takes full account of the need to license and accredit recycling facilities to ensure that all facilities are able to handle the waste materials generated by the recycling process, regardless of their geographic location. Both environmental and safety management systems are also recommended in this draft.  

Developing similar codes of practice, and potentially a legally binding instrument, for the ship demolition yards would increase the availability of facilities with quality, safety and environmental management systems in place, facilities in which the recycling of vessels can be undertaken in a controlled and sustainable manner. This work needs to be undertaken as soon as possible and on a global basis with the International Labour Organization (ILO) also taking a leading role. Developing such recycling facilities should be encouraged in Asia as well as in western countries. The needs of Asian recycling regions such as China and the Indian sub-Continent, and their demand for scrap metals, are the foundation of demand for recycled steel and other materials. 

Contact: Bill Box