Alang, a small town situated in the state of Gujarat on the west coast of India is considered the global capital of the ship recycling industry. At present, there are about 120 active recycling yards dismantling end-of-life ships to extract various types of scraps for recycling and equipment for reuse. There were times when not many yards were considered operating in a safe and environmentally sound manner. However, the ground reality is now changing rapidly, with the rise of responsible ship recycling. Almost half of the active yards in Alang are now operating (or are in the process of operating) under the certification of the Hong Kong Convention compliance from reputed classification societies such as Class NK, RINA, and IR Class. Yet, the perception of many in the industry fails to change. Certain groups, without knowing the technicalities of the ship recycling process, complain about ships being demolished on a beach. In fact, ‘beaching’ is just a way of docking ships and it does not have much bearing on the hazards posed by the recycling process as repeatedly mentioned by a well-known expert on the subject, Dr. Nikos Mikelis in many of his articles. The fact that such yards have been issued statements of compliance under the Hong Kong Convention substantiates this statement of these practices being responsible ship recycling practices.
We, at GMS, have developed a highly qualified ‘green team’ to lead our Responsible Ship Recycling Program (RSRP) on the field in major ship recycling centers. We provide a one-stop-shop to ship owners interested in recycling their ships and offshore assets in a responsible way. We follow the procedures laid down by the IMOs Hong Kong International Convention on Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships despite the Convention not being in force yet. Our aim is to provide added value to ship owners who like to stay ahead of their peers and also to help yards develop their infrastructure and training programs to achieve safe, environmentally sound, and responsible ship recycling.
The procedure we follow begins with the preparation of an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) as per IMO MEPC 269(68) followed by preparing a Ship Recycling Plan (SRP) as per IMO MEPC 196(62). The SRP is prepared by referring to IHM and by evaluating the adequacy of the Ship Recycling Facility Plan (SRFP) to recycle a given type of ship as per IMO MEPC 210(63). During our responsible ship recycling process, we provide proper supervision to ensure safe and environmentally sound ship recycling. If requested, we also facilitate owners’ visits to yards undertaking the recycling of their ships. Weekly/Monthly reporting on the recycling status is carried out by our team as per the request of our clients. Within two weeks of the completion of a recycling project, we provide a “Statement of Completion of Recycling” certificate from an authorized government agency. In a first in the industry, for every ship recycled under RSRP, we also provide the estimated carbon dioxide emissions during the recycling process.
In the last two years, since we launched our RSRP, we have undertaken about 35 responsible ship recycling projects. These projects involved almost all ship types by shipping companies operating in different market sectors (Figure 2). All ships under our RSRP were recycled at HKC-certified yards achieving good value for money and peace of mind for our clients. In addition, to focus on our core business of responsible recycling ships and offshore assets, we have also developed a Workers’ Training Program (WTP) to voluntarily train the workers in our partner yards in India to create a safety culture amongst the yard workers. The workers are trained on basic safety procedures, safe-for-entry procedures, working safely in confined spaces, using self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) a.o.
It is in our endeavors to support the inclusive growth of the responsible ship recycling yards located in Alang, India. Labeling a particular recycling method bad, without knowing what the ground reality is, is not the way forward for the ship recycling industry. We believe it is very important to appreciate and support the latest developments in the infrastructure of these yards, in an effort to achieve the required green recycling capacity. At the same time, we aim to create awareness within the maritime industry regarding the availability of yards capable of responsible ship recycling in accordance with the upcoming international regulations.
For any questions or comments, please contact our Green Team at: firstname.lastname@example.org