As standards have increased across the subcontinent, so shipowners themselves also need to adapt to the stricter requirements now faced, particularly when it comes to tankers and cleaning vessels thoroughly to reach the updated more stringent hot works recycling standards.
As we have seen earlier this year, tragic accidents aboard an FSU and LPG that were not cleaned thoroughly by the concerned cash buyer (possibly seeking to cut corners and do a 'cheap' cleaning job) led to an unnecessary loss of life and closure of the Pakistan market for over 8 months now. This wake-up call should serve as a dire notice to tanker owners that their vessels must now be completely cleaned of all cargo residues, slops, and sludges in all cargo and slop tanks to avoid a repeat. With blowtorches cutting vessels, lives are at risk and this should not simply be a burden for shipowners (who know their vessel better than anybody else) to shift onto cash buyers.
All in the shipping community need to sleep sound at night knowing that they have acted responsibly, and particularly with an increasing flow of tankers now coming for recycling, this responsibility must extend to the shipowners and the nature of the cleaning job they should now take on before delivering to cash buyers / local markets.
A repeat of the accidents witnessed in Pakistan will only lead to enforced closure of recycling markets, more negative publicity and headline risks, reduced resale options and therefore much lower pricing for all wet units across the board. By simply spending a little extra to clean their vessels in line with the GMS guidelines for hot works, lives can be saved and infrastructure/standards further enhanced across a rapidly developing ship recycling sector.