Demystifying Ship Recycling - Issue 04

16 Dec 2021
Author: Mr. Kiran Thorat & Dr. Anand Hiremath

Safe removal and recycling of batteries recovered during Ship Recycling.

Batteries are used as an emergency source of electric power on ships of all types. Lead is usually found in lead-acid batteries. Lead is considered as heavy metal and correct handling of it is essential. Similarly, contact with acid is hazardous to human health.

End-of-Life vessels are delivered to the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) compliant recycling facilities in India with the Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) part I, II, and III. Batteries are listed, located, and quantified in the IHM. As per ship specific Ship Recycling Plan, the SOPs are prepared to remove and dispose of these batteries. Only trained workers are allowed to remove the batteries. Workers are given adequate PPE, consisting of hardhat, safety shoes, gloves, overalls, glasses, and masks. Batteries that contain acids and lead are isolated from the electrical power cables, transported, and stored at designated areas in recycling facilities by trained workers. The designated area is well ventilated. The workers are made aware of the possibility of rapid charge release from the batteries and their heavyweights. Safe manual lifting practices are followed.


Extra care is taken not to cause any physical damage to the batteries to avoid any acid splash (electrolyte). The workers are also trained to handle acid spills and first aid measures in case of contact is made with the acid.

The batteries are sold to the authorized recyclers for recycling purposes and the battery submission manifests are maintained at the recycling yards.

The increasing safety culture and strict compliance to the SOPs at the HKC compliant recycling facilities are admirable 

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About Author

Kiran Thorat is a Trader at GMS, where he looks after sustainable ship recycling projects. Kiran believes that Sustainable Recycling is an integral part of Sustainable Shipping and a notable example of a circular economy. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from the Marine Engineering and Research Institute (DMET), India, and a Master's Degree in Energy, Trade, and Finance from Cass Business School, London.

Dr. Anand M. Hiremath is a Civil Engineer and holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati), India. He was awarded Doctorate Degree in the year 2016 for his research work on Ship Recycling by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), India. In addition, he has a diploma in Industrial safety, is a qualified lead auditor for ISO 9k, 14k and 18k. Dr. Hiremath published the first practical handbook on ship recycling, entitled: "The Green Handbook: A Practical Checklist to Monitor the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships" which highlights the procedures the GMS RSRP follows to help both Ship and Yard Owners recycle a vessel in an environmentally-friendly manner. He is the Chief Sustainability Officer of GMS.

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