Compulsory training imparted to recycling facility workers by Gujarat Maritime Board (Part-1)
It is a widely known fact that whoever wants to work on a ship as a crew must undergo training as per their intended designated duties prior to joining a ship. The content of the training and required duration are governed by the STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping Rules). They are amended periodically to ensure the crew is well trained to work safely onboard a vessel.
Have we ever wondered what training is provided to the workers working at recycling facilities?
The Government of India has ratified the Hong Kong Convention in Nov 2019. The Directorate General of Shipping has been appointed as an apex body for overseeing the ship recycling activities in India. Gujarat Maritime Board is a regional body that controls the ship recycling process at Alang. GMB has prepared different free training programs for yard workers before they begin to work in the yards.
Gujarat Maritime Board training center
A. Free Compulsory Comprehensive Safety Training (Duration: 12 days):
Any qualified individual who wants to work at a recycling facility must undergo 12 days of free compulsory safety training. This training gives a comprehensive idea about the jobs done at recycling yards. The training includes the identification of hazards in gas cutting operations. It emphasizes the application of Personal Protective Equipment. The training highlights the hazards of working in a confined space, working at height, working in the engine room, the presence of a hazardous atmosphere, etc. Safety-related to metals and materials handling are discussed in the course. Fire and explosion hazards are discussed in-depth and fire fighting training is provided to every individual.
First aid training and emergency response drills are conducted during the training.
And most importantly, the workers are made familiar with the environmental hazards and housekeeping at yards.
B. Free Refresher Safety Training (Duration 03 days):
Refresher training is provided to the workers who had already undergone 12 days of compulsory training earlier and need to refresh their knowledge. In this program, the workers are made aware of new developments in ship recycling, and the topics covered in the 12 days program are also discussed. The accident case studies are also discussed with the workers to make them understand the root cause of the accident and how those accidents could have been prevented.
C. Free Gas Cutter Safety Training (Duration: 02 days):
This is specialized training provided only to the workers who would be working as a gas cutter.
The workers are informed about the gas cutting equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) and their significance during gas cutting. Safe procedures and hazards during the gas cutting are discussed in depth. Workers are made aware of fire prevention and protection during the gas cutting operations. Comprehensive training is provided about the fire causes, fire fighting, and extinguishing.
The effectiveness of training is evaluated by the Indian Register of Shipping. Upon clearing verbal/written exams, certificates are issued to the workers. If a worker fails to clear the exam, he has to undergo training again.
It is worth noting that all these trainings are provided free of cost keeping the workers’ safety at the forefront. The efforts made by the GMB in improving training from 2003 are noteworthy.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) against COVID-19 at HKC Compliant recycling facilities
Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases in India, the HKC compliant recycling facilities are taking absolute precautions against the spread of COVID-19. The recycling facilities and the local regulatory authorities have developed standard operating procedures to curb the spread.
The entry and exit points in each yard are sanitized regularly. The recycling facilities are sanitized every morning before commencing activities and after completing activities in the evening. At entry and exit points, hand wash facilities along with soap are arranged. Washing of hands before entering the recycling yard is imperative. The safety officer and HSE team monitor every worker's body temperature and ensure that workers use proper PPE & masks. In work locations, social distancing is assured with strict compliance.
During the regular breaks as well, social distancing is strictly followed. Workers are provided with masks, gloves, and adequate PPE. Safety officers supervise the social distancing norms. The number of workers present in the yard at any given time is restricted to ensure adequate social distancing. If a worker is observed with any of the COVID-19 symptoms, he is transferred to the quarantine facility allotted by Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB).
The medical attention is provided by the Alang multi-specialty hospital. Primary Health Centre (PHC) arranges regular COVID-19 tests for the yard workers to identify any asymptomatic patient.
Similar SOPs are developed for the crews who deliver the vessels to the recycling facilities. The COVID-19 test is done for the crews onboard the vessel at anchorage. Once all the crews are tested negative, they are allowed to disembark. A crew member with symptoms is given prompt medication and treated as per the COVID-19 guidelines onshore. Crews are provided with masks and disposable protective clothing. Once the crew disembarks from the vessel, they are immediately transported to the accommodation, and they are not allowed to visit other than designated areas in the recycling facilities. A trained person sanitizes vessels' access points and common areas before yard workers or regulatory authority representatives board the vessel.
Strict adherence to the above SOPs helps curb the spread of COVID-19 and ensures continuity in the ship recycling process without any loss of time.
Drills at HKC Compliant recycling facilities – Part 2
In Drills at HKC compliant recycling facilities - Part 1, we discussed the drills, including fire and explosion on the plot & ship, confined space rescue, and evacuation from ship and Plot. In addition to those drills, few more drills are conducted at recycling facilities:
Falling from Height:
When the ship is recycled, she is sitting on the ground. The ship's structures are quite high from the ground. During the recycling, process workers need to board the vessel regularly. Although workers use PPE and the NO GO areas are marked & barricaded on the vessels, there is a hazard of falling from the height. Therefore, yard workers need to understand the actions which should be taken if a person falls from a height. Falling from height drill is conducted by simulating the fall of a human dummy. Workers are trained to rescue the person who fell down and give him first aid and medical attention.
Medical Emergency on Plot and Ship:
At any ship recycling yard, around 80 to 100 workers are present on a typical working day. It is important for workers to understand how to react if any of their colleagues face medical emergencies such as heart attack, fainting, etc. In this drill, workers are explained about the significance of first aid and the use of medical equipment.
Oil spillage on Sea Water and Plot:
When a vessel is delivered to the recycling facilities, it usually contains small quantities of fuel oil, lube oil, bilge water, and oily sludge. These oils are transferred from the vessel to the oil collection tanks using oil transfer pumps with the help of flexible hoses. Transfer of oil possesses the risk of oil spill either on sea water or on the Plot. Yard workers must understand how to respond in case of oil spillage as it is a major environmental hazard. Recycling facilities have oil spill kits to contain and collect the spilled oil. The kit has all the necessary material to clean the oil, such as oil absorbent pads, booms, shovels, drums, etc.
Monsoon and Storm:
More than 90 % of ship recycling is done at southeast Asian facilities. India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan face the monsoon season from June to September every year. During monsoon, it is obvious to face heavy rainfalls, rough seas, and occasional storms. Therefore, it is significant for yard owners and workers to understand the actions to be taken during the monsoon.
Every week emergency sirens are function tested to ensure the workers' awareness of different patterns of the emergencies. All drills are recorded, and post drill debriefings are done and discussed in the toolbox meetings. Drills are recorded until expected performance is achieved.
HKC compliant recycling facilities strictly comply with the annual schedule of various drills to ensure safety at yards.
Drills at HKC Compliant recycling facilities – Part 1
Any person related to shipping is aware of the various mock drills. Whenever any movie is filmed on ships, it’s apparent to see bells ringing, hooter sounding, and drills held on the ships. Have we ever wondered what types of drills are conducted on the Hong Kong Convention compliant yards while recycling the vessels? The entire ship recycling process is related to gas cutting, heavy plates lifting and their movements, confined space entries, working at a height, etc.
Although the workers employed in the yards receive regular training, it is vital for them to participate in mock drills and understand the procedures followed during actual emergencies. The motto behind carrying out any drill at recycling facilities is to make the workers acquainted with various procedures to be followed during emergencies. Participation in mock drills is the way to make the workers familiar with the methods and equipment which can be used in a crisis. It helps workers to understand the SOPs to be followed.
Fire and explosion on plot and Fire and Explosion on Ship:
While conducting a fire drill on the ship, a small fire is simulated and workers are asked to extinguish the fire as the SOP. Actions taken during the drills by each worker are observed, and their timing is recorded. In the drill, different types of fire extinguishers are function tested. Post drill review meetings are conducted under the guidance of the safety officer for effective learning.
Confined Space Rescue:
Ships are built of steel and have multiple compartments. Double bottom tanks, fuels oil tanks and smaller auxiliary tanks are all confined spaces. It’s foremost for yard workers to understand the significance of confined space rescue. Keeping this in mind, yards conduct the drills to rescue a person from confined spaces. It helps workers to respond promptly during an actual emergency.
Evacuation from ship and plot:
Once the ship recycling commences, its structure changes every day due to the slicing of the hull and the access to the vessel is altered as per the structure. Workers need to understand the evacuation from the ship and plot in case of emergency. Therefore, yards regularly conduct the evacuation from ship and plot drills.
The drills are also conducted during the audit by the SOC issuing classification society.
Each type of drill has its own significance. HKC compliant recycling facilities strictly comply with the annual schedule of various mock drills.
TO OUR READERS AND BUSINESS ASSOCIATES IN THE INDUSTRY
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) recently published a news article about the UK cruise ships scrapped in India's graveyard. In this article, the BBC attempts to propagate biased opinions about the ship recycling industry in India. After reviewing the misleading information and erroneous views of the ship recycling industry in India by the BBC, we are required to address some falsified items stated in the report.
World's largest ship graveyard
BBC has described Alang, a coastal village in Gujarat, as "The world's largest ship graveyard". However, Alang is the largest green ship recycling destination preferred by global ship owners for recycling of their end-of-life vessels for the following reasons:
Alang is a stretch of muddy beach
The remark made in the article about Alang being 'a stretch of muddy beach' is merely incorrect and out of context.
The BBC article mentions that any vessels recycled at Alang are asbestos bombs. It is critical to understand how the asbestos, asbestos containing material (ACM), and other hazardous wastes generated during the ship recycling process are removed and disposed of at Alang.
Pumping of waste into the sea and burning the materials on the shore
Furthermore, the BBC article mentioned the worker's statement that the oil and other wastes thrown to sea are completely baseless and merely opinion-based.
Medical Facilities at Alang:
The BBC article criticizes the Alang for having inadequate medical facilities. However, it is crucial to note that Alang has 3 hospitals within the cluster of recycling yards.
Recycling vessels pollute the beaches:
As a specialized body established under the Government of India's National Green Tribunal (NGT) Act, NGT is equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental issues. NGT has also ordered the development of recycling facilities along the coast of the Alang. It approved the 'Beaching' method of ship recycling. It observed that the recycling at Alang would not affect the environment much as claimed by different international NGOs with biased opinions.
Ship recycling in India is a convincing example of the Green Circular Economy. The Government of India has determined to double the capacity of ship recycling at Alang by developing infrastructure and enforcing regulatory measures. Therefore, comments in BBC's article about Alang being 'India's ship graveyard' are entirely unverified.
We hope that this release has helped to foster a better understanding of the present status of ship recycling in Alang and that readers recognize the importance of taking the time to understand recycling industry facts vs. biased opinions.
BBC should do responsible journalism and not just publish scripts without fact-checking. The prejudiced opinions do not affect the sustainable growth that is taking place in Alang. In addition, the Government of India is planning to double ship recycling capacity by the year 2024.
At GMS, we pride ourselves as being responsible leaders in an industry vital to the shipping supply chain. Over the years, we have made it our mission to improve the safety and quality of working and living standards across the industry. The advancements that have been made in the environmental standards and long-term sustainability throughout the ship recycling industry and in the geographic areas that house it has been immense, and GMS considers it an honor to be at the forefront of these developments.
Please feel free to contact GMS at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions that you might have.
Established in 1992 in historic Cumberland, MD. (U.S.A), GMS is the world's LARGEST and FIRST ISO 9001 certified Cash Buyer of ships for recycling. With exclusive representatives in all of the major ship recycling markets in the world, GMS has negotiated about 3,500 ships for recycling since inception. In addition to its original office in the United States of America, the company continues to expand its operations with offices in Hamburg (Germany), Athens (Greece), Dubai (UAE), India (Bhavnagar), Singapore, Seoul (Korea), Shanghai (China) and Tokyo (Japan).
P.O. Box 346041, Suite 101,
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