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BLOG & PRESS RELEASE
Back To All Records

Demystifying Ship Recycling - Issue 01

The Myth: Ships are broken down by hands in recycling yards in South Asian Countries and workers had to lift steel pieces with bare hands.

The Reality:

Hong Kong International Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKC) Compliant Ship Recycling Yards are equipped with cranes of different capacities ranging from Safe Working Load (SWL) of 200T to 12T. Cranes are used for distinct purposes.

In the ship recycling facilities, ships are cut in three different zones. The primary cutting zone is the vessel itself. A large slice of the vessel's hull is marked and cut as per the approved ship-specific Ship Recycling Plan (SRP). While marking and cutting the slice, factors like ship stability and SWL of the handling crane are considered. These heavy blocks are lifted by the heavy-duty crane (SWL 200 T) from the vessel and transferred to the secondary cutting zone without any contact with the intertidal zone. In the secondary cutting zone, the larger slice is cut down into smaller slices. The cutting is done in such a way that larger plates are extracted for useful applications. While doing this, the slices need to be cut in smaller sections and often aligned to get the right access for the cutting torch. Medium capacity cranes (SWL 35 T) are used for handling smaller slices in the secondary cutting zone. The same crane is used to transfer lighter sections to the tertiary zones, where stiffeners and brackets are cut into smaller parts.

The Cranes with SWL 12 to 18T are used to load the extracted steel plates into the truck used for transportation. These steel plates are transported to steel rolling mills to make steel bars which are used in the construction industry, and scrap steel is sent to electric arc furnaces.

In Indian recycling yards, only lighter pieces (lesser than 2 Kg) of scrap steel are hand lifted by the workers only for segregation purposes. They are provided with adequate PPE. Recycling facilities based in Bangladesh use cranes with magnetic grabs to handle the steel plates and scrap pieces.

The workers involved in gas cutting wear adequate PPE, including hard hats, overalls, safety shoes, gloves, masks, and gas cutting glasses. A qualified safety officer supervises the complete process.
 
The cranes are inspected and load tested every six months to ensure the cranes' good health by the competent authorities.

It is incredible to see the progress made by the recycling facilities in India. In the entire process of removing slices from the vessel's hull until loading on the trucks, the heavy steel pieces or plates are never handled manually with bare hands in HKC compliant yards. 

– END OF TEXT –

For further enquiries, contact us at green@gmsinc.net

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Demystifying Ship Recycling - Issue 02

The Myth:  Holes are drilled at the bottom of the tanks to discharge bilge water and waste oil from the beached vessel.

The Reality: International Maritime Organization (IMO), in its resolution MEPC 210 (63), mentions that residual oil tanks should be protected against leakage, overflow, fire, and other potential accidents. Therefore, HKC Compliant recycling facilities prepare a plan for the disposal of bilge water and waste oil present on the vessels as per Part II of the Inventory of Hazardous Materials.

At Alang, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) are the regulatory bodies responsible for handling the waste generated from the recycling vessels. GPCB has appointed Gujarat Enviro Protection Infrastructure Ltd. (GEPIL) to collect bilge water and oily wastes from the recycling vessels. The bilge water is transferred from the vessel into dedicated collection tanks and temporarily stored at storage areas within the yard. Bilge water is delivered to road transport tankers operated by GEPIL for further treatment at GEPIL facilities located in Alang. 

The waste oil is delivered to the GPCB authorized subcontractors, which dispatch the waste oil to the refineries. 

GEPIL is equipped with a bilge water separator to separate the oil from bilge water. The separated water is treated using an activated sludge process, and treated water is used for gardening as well as for suppression of dust over landfills. The separated oil is collected in the storage tanks. 

 

 

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TO OUR READERS AND BUSINESS ASSOCIATES IN THE INDUSTRY:

GMS RESPONSE TO RECENT “KVEIKUR” DOCUMENTARY

As economist Alan Greenspan once suggested, people are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.  It is critical to bear this in mind as one watches the recent Icelandic “Kveikur” documentary titled "Where Eimskip ships go to die", produced by the Icelandic television and radio network “Ríkisútvarpið (RÚV)”

Unfortunately, the insatiable appetite for NGOs seeking media attention from news and media outlets chasing ratings seems to be once again the fuel feeding the misinformation and falsehoods that have been reported by the Icelandic media in this so-called "documentary" regarding two vessels that were recently sold by Eimskip. 

In the poorly researched and misinformed 30 minute documentary, so-called "journalists" who are on the hunt for sensationalized stories to garner viewer ratings, have carelessly "reported" false information in an effort solely to motivate interest through "tabloid-style" journalism and storytelling.  It is no surprise, they have also included references to an earlier debunked BBC news story which inaccurately reported on ship recycling and recruited the notoriously ill-informed and highly aggressive NGO Shipbreaking Platform, in an effort to paint a picture more akin to a fictional show rather than an actual non-fiction news story. 

At GMS, our company operates on three foundational principles and values of professionalism, integrity, and performance. We conduct our business based on FACTS, not fiction. With these principles and values at the forefront of our work, we consider it our duty to confront the Icelandic journalists' inaccuracies in the Kveikur program.   

FALSE ACCUSATIONS - It is essential to first address a general theme throughout this "documentary" that implies EIMSKIP somehow acted illegally or criminally when they sold two of their container ships that were eventually recycled.  It is crucial to understand that these ships, which were Faroe Islands-flagged and later converted to Liberian flag, were lawfully sold to legitimate ship owning entities as further trading deals.  The sales of these assets were based on standard MOAs (Memorandum of Agreements) and had absolutely no reference point to recycling.  Although not legally relevant as these ships were sold for further active trading, neither the Faroe Islands nor Liberia falls under the EUSRR (European Union Ship Recycling Regulation) for the recycling of ships. 

Right after delivery of the vessels, the ships were put on charter, trading in northern Europe. The vessels remained on time charter and operated until the end of their minimum redelivery periods. 

The devastating economic effects of COVID-19 have been felt worldwide, and the container market has been one of the hardest-hit sectors in the shipping community. As a result of the massive reduction in container cargo movements during the late spring, the assets in question were redelivered.

After failing to find employment for the ships, owners put the ships in the market for further resale. At least one of the ships was committed to buyers but failed on subjects. Subsequently, owners had to sell the ships for recycling at a much lower price than the assets' anticipated residual value. Frankly, EIMSKIP was fortunate to find a trading buyer and monetize the assets' full trading value for its shareholders when it did, and EIMSKIP's management should be APPLAUDED for acting in the best interests of the company and their stakeholders at the time.  

Neither Eimskip nor the owners of the vessels had engaged in any illegal or criminal activity whatsoever, although the Icelandic documentary and the NGO Platform's comments in this regard falsely direct the viewer to assume that some level of illegal activity had taken place.  Such statements could be viewed as defamatory.

DISTORTED SAFETY CLAIMS - The program also incorrectly frames the number of deaths in Alang and its safety record, claiming that there are "dozens of injuries weekly" and that there are "no hospitals" in the area.  GMS already clarified and debunked these falsehoods in its earlier response to the BBC documentary referred to and cited in this program. Although even one death is unacceptable by any measure or standard, our goal is to foster a recycling industry with ZERO casualties.  With this said, it is also essential to bear mind that in the USA alone, there are over 20 industries and sectors that have death rates higher than the ship recycling industry in India.  In fact, based on a recent Business Insider news article using information from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the death rate of the Indian ship recycling industry compared to US industries would fall somewhere between construction equipment operators (ranked #20) and professional athletes (ranked #24). 

The documentary also falsely claims there are "no hospitals" in the area; however, there are THREE 24 hour hospitals in Alang alone.  Locations and details of these three hospitals can be easily observed through a simple Google search—something producers of the film failed to fact check, let alone physically come to Alang to visit the site themselves.

NEGATIVE BIAS & AGENDA - The program has an obvious bias towards supporting the European Union Ship Recycling Regulation (EUSRR), and the EU approved yards which are included as part of the EUSRR.  The producers suggest that the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) is not "formally recognized" and that no recognized certifying agency supports or follows its mandates.  This is, in and of itself, wholly inaccurate and one of the many clear examples of the program's underlying bias agenda, as the program also failed to mention that the United Nations specialized agency that developed the HKC for regulating international shipping, called the IMO (International Maritime Organization), did so as a means to regulate globally the "Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships." The HKC has now been ratified by 15 countries, many of which are from Europe, including European maritime nations such as Germany, Denmark, Norway, and the Netherlands.  Further to this, four leading IACS (International Association of Classification Societies) members currently give Certificates of Compliance, after conducting physical audits, to Indian based recycling yards that qualify. This list includes well-known international members such as Class NK, RINA, LR, and IR. 

It is also important to note that the internationally formed “Ship Recycling Transparency Initiative (SRTI)” members' policies on ship recycling, recognizes, supports and adheres to the Hong Kong Convention. 

Furthermore, the program ignores the fact that the HKC was primarily created and developed by the international community to ensure that it adequately guided and allowed for the inclusion of southeast Asian based recycling yards, given that their participation has always been deemed critical to the success of ANY large scale international ship recycling regulations.  The initial architects of the European regulations intended for their efforts and guidelines to serve as a means to help usher in the HKC itself more quickly. These facts and many more are omitted as they do not suit the journalists and the NGO Platform, as they inconvenience and contradict their biased narrative and agenda.

STEREOTYPED BIAS NARRATIVE (The West vs. India) - In an effort to diminish and degrade the HKC and to portray the recycling methods utilized in South East Asia in a negative stereotypical way, the program focuses on the "gravity method" of recycling, insinuating that it is "unique" only to South East Asia and that it is inherently "bad for the environment." The reality is that this tried and tested method of recycling maritime assets is used in many places around the world, not just South East Asia.  In fact, this method is not very different from practices regularly used in the West for dismantling old buildings and large commercial structures.  In the West, it is often referred to in the construction and building industry as "controlled demolition," however, this fact is intentionally overlooked by the program's makers.

The program's commentary regarding the EU yard featured in Ghent, Belgium, is also particularly interesting. They claim that 98% of a ship in their care is recycled, with 2% of the vessel going to landfills.  This is similar to the recycling figures that have been applicable within Indian yards for many years.  EU yards should be applauded for their efforts to finally meet Indian standards on this particular issue. 

While the EU yards are making efforts to become more competitive with Indian facilities, the videos portraying some of these EU yards in this documentary alone, depict a level of unorganized operation that likely contributes to these yards' inability to compete internationally on a cost basis.  The reality is that it is well known that EU yards pay very little for the ships that they recycle and are not price competitive in the global markets. Government subsidies that could allow these European yards to be less cost conscious, coupled with low local steel prices, are just some of the true untold economic factors contributing to the significant disparity in pricing between the EU and Indian recycling facilities.  

The documentary also attempts to negatively portray these Indian recycling yards by featuring a lone disgruntled Indian yard employee. However, the journalists intentionally fail to highlight or depict the many other thousands of workers who are happy to be employed at these facilities.  Another fact that journalists conveniently omit in the program, is that workers travel from across India to attain these coveted jobs, which pay above-average local compensation. 

Unsurprisingly, the program makers also chose to omit the commendable and noteworthy humanitarian efforts and actions made by most Indian recycling yard facility owners during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns in India.  Most yards continued to pay salaries to their existing employees throughout the shutdown period, and in order to help ease the severe financial and social discomfort experienced by these workers, food distribution centers were also set up by many of the local recycling yards to ensure these workers were appropriately supported during these challenging times.   

FALSE INFORMATION - GMS was also incorrectly referred to and mentioned throughout this program.  One such reference was made to a company called "GMS Liberia" that was supposedly used in the transactions in question.  However, a company by this name does not exist, and if it does, it has nothing to do with GMS or its principals.  GMS is an agent, acting on behalf of its principals, which are ship owning companies based around the world.  These principals have diverse interests in maritime assets, ranging from very modern and newly built ships, down to end of life vessels that are often operated, chartered, and traded until being sold for further trading or recycling. 

The fact remains that GMS, as an agent, negotiates the acquisition of more ships and maritime assets on behalf of its principals than any other company in the world.   

WATCHING THE "WATCHDOGS" - GMS remains committed to maintaining a high level of ethics in its operations and commercial transactions and will continue to serve as a guardian and leader of the ship recycling industry.  From the NGO Shipbreaking Platform to the television stations that broadcast misinformation and sensationalized stories about ship recycling in India, to further their own political narratives and agendas and to increase their viewership, we recognize the ever-growing importance of confronting and speaking out against falsehoods and voicing the truth for those who are involved in the ship recycling industry.  By allowing such misinformation and factual inaccuracies to go unchecked, it is not just ship owners and large companies who depend on ship recycling in India that are adversely affected, but also the thousands of people who are employed by and derive their livelihoods from these yards, and who work every day to earn an honest living to support their families.  

For personal and political reasons, these highly aggressive NGOs have chosen to push a misguided political agenda and narrative within the EU from a policy and media perspective.  This attack on Indian ship recycling threatens the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of people who are dependent on this industry and who do not have a collective voice loud enough to be heard over the well funded NGOs and media outlets that have focused on exploiting the hard-working people of the recycling industry in order to benefit themselves.

GMS is in the process of seeking advice on its legal options against the organizations that have relied on and published false and defamatory information, with a clear intention to slander GMS's reputable and well-known name in the market with this documentary.  As these misguided media assaults are becoming more frequent, maintaining an objective perspective and focusing on unbiased facts is vital. We ask that readers take the time to properly understand and appreciate the tremendous progress that has been made in the recycling industry in South East Asia, and contact us with any questions about the constant efforts being made to improve.

Finally, it's regrettable that GMS remains the only institution in the ship recycling industry that rises up to confront and challenge these false narratives with truth and facts. As a result, we end up being a favourite target on the "hit list" of those determined to derail the progress of the HKC, and who are ultimately intent on stopping ship recycling in the Indian subcontinent. We invite shipowners and their associations, capital providers, underwriters, shipbrokers, class societies, auditors, and all those who work in this industry and have studied this industry up close, to rise up and speak up!

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For further inquiries, please contact us at bd@gmsinc.net

 

ABOUT GMS

Founded in USA, GMS is the world’s largest Buyer of ships and offshore units for recycling. GMS has successfully negotiated several thousand assets since its inception—more than any other company in the world! For more than a decade GMS has led the industry by sheer volume of transactions and innovative products. The firm's mission is to simplify the disposal and recycling processes in the maritime world by providing end-to-end solutions, sustaining an asset’s residual value while simultaneously improving international health, safety and environmental standards. With nine international offices, an award-winning Responsible Ship Recycling Program, and a team of specialized experts, GMS continues to influence positive change in the global maritime and offshore industry.

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December 17, 2019

 

Dr. Anil Sharma is nominated among Lloyd’s List’s Top 100 Most Influential People in Shipping 2019

For the 10th consecutive year, Dr. Sharma’s contributions to the ship recycling industry have been recognized in this prestigious list of global leaders

 

We are very pleased to announce that for the 10th year in a row, Dr. Anil Sharma, Founder & CEO of GMS, has been featured in the annual Lloyd’s List Top 100 of the most influential people in shipping for 2019. He joins an extremely small and elite group of shipping professionals to be receive this accolade from the world’s most respected and prestigious maritime publication.

In this year’s ranking, Lloyd’s List described Dr. Sharma as a “pioneer in driving positive change in the (recycling) industry” and highlighted how his “vision to evolve ship recycling through sustainable practices has placed Global Marketing Systems at the forefront of the international, industry-wide changes”.

To date, GMS remains the first and only Cash Buyer to be nominated in the Top 100 and the only Cash Buyer in the world to develop an award winning Responsible Ship Recycling Program (RSRP). GMS continues to invest in both local and international programs, in order to provide a full scope of services to Ship Owners, Lenders and Recycling Yards. From preparing Inventory of Hazardous Material (IHM) reports and Ship Recycling Plans (SRPs) to auditing services by providing weekly progress updates and a comprehensive vessel recycling completion reports as per the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) guidelines, GMS offers one-stop, end-to-end solutions to the international maritime community.

As a testament to growing interest in GMS’s RSRP, the percentage of green vessels recycled has mushroomed from a modest 5% of GMS’s total sales into India (about 6 years ago) to nearly 71% this year. Moreover, during the last 5 years, GMS has generated more than 40 IHM reports for various Ship Owners and even helped 10 Recycling Yards in India to achieve their Statement of Compliance (SoC) in accordance with the Hong Kong Convention.

In 2019, GMS conducted about 50 training programs (a 75% increase over 2018) for yard workers and safety officers in India and Bangladesh. GMS is now working with yards in Bangladesh to develop “green” facilities in that country. In addition, GMS worked closely with the Indian government in their evaluation of and the final ratification of the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) for safe and responsible recycling.

As complimented by Lloyd’s List - “Dr. Sharma has been in this business for the past 27 years and has built it into a force to be reckoned with.”

In response, Dr. Sharma commented: “I would like to thank Lloyd’s List for this prestigious honor for the 10th straight year in a row and I am humbled that the efforts being made by GMS continue to make a difference in the industry. The indelible importance of Ship Recycling remains ever-so prevalent for the maritime and offshore industries and I am pleased to note the commendable improvements being made in the industry over the years. Not only more than 75% of ship recycling yards in India are HKC compliant today, Bangladeshi yards are also getting in on the action, which speaks volumes about the positive strides being taken by the industry at large. Moreover, truly noteworthy is the major step undertaken by the Indian government by ratifying the Hong Kong Convention and announcing the “Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019”. I can only hope that in the year(s) ahead, the EUSRR will finally recognize the positive & giant steps taken by subcontinent recycling yards and complement their efforts by ratifying non-EU yards in the short term and finally dissolving this impractical regulation once HKC comes in to force.”

Dr. Sharma’s review in the Lloyd’s List Top 100 can be found online at:

https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1130057/72-Anil-Sharma-GMS

For a free copy of the publication, kindly contact: info@gmsinc.net

 

– END OF TEXT –

For further enquiries, contact us at: bd@gmsinc.net

 

ABOUT GMS

Founded in USA, GMS is the world’s largest Buyer of ships and offshore units for recycling. GMS has successfully negotiated several thousand assets since its inception—more than any other company in the world! For more than a decade GMS has led the industry by sheer volume of transactions and innovative products. The firm's mission is to simplify the disposal and recycling processes in the maritime world by providing end-to-end solutions, sustaining an asset’s residual value while simultaneously improving international health, safety and environmental standards. With nine international offices, an award-winning Responsible Ship Recycling Program, and a team of specialized experts, GMS continues to influence positive change in the global maritime and offshore industry.

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November 20, 2019
INDIA RATIFIES THE HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR SAFE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND RECYCLING OF SHIPS, 2009
A small step for India, a giant leap for the ship recycling industry.
 
 
 
In news that surfaced late this evening from India, as reported by the Press Information Bureau (Government of India), the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has approved the proposal for enactment of the “Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019” and accession to the Hong Kong International Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009.
 
The Bill, aptly titled the “Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019”, includes the following salient features:
  • -Restrictions / prohibitions against the installation and use of hazardous materials and vessels will be surveyed and certified on the basis of the inventory of hazardous materials (IHM).
  • -Ship recycling facilities will need to obtain authorization to operate and only authorized yards will be permitted to import ships for recycling.
  • -Ship-specific Ship Recycling Plans (SRPs) will need to be prepared for incoming vessels.
  • -Incoming ships will need to obtain a “Ready for Recycling Certificate” in accordance with the HKC.
  • -When the Hong Kong International Convention for Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, 2009 finally comes into force, its provisions will also be implemented under the authorities of the Bill.
In response, Dr. Anil Sharma commented: “I am delighted by the decision made by the Indian Government and this truly is another hallmark moment towards the accession of the Hong Kong Convention by the largest ship recycling destination in the world today. With this giant step, the Indian Government has ensured that not only on the micro-end, will the industry continue to operate while keeping worker health and the safety of the environment at heart, but on the macro-end, a growing number of ship owners seeking SoC based green-recycling options can be certain that the authorities have added another layer of security for their incoming vessels. As a result, this Bill eases the restrictions on non-EU yards that are currently imposed by the EUSRR.”
 
Dr. Nikos Mikelis also commented: “India was always the key to unlocking Hong Kong Convention’s entry into force and after a number of years waiting for India’s ship recycling industry to mature and embrace the technical standards of the Convention, and having witnessed that remarkable transformation, it is now most rewarding to receive news that India’s Cabinet has adopted the Convention as India’s own standard. It now only remains for Parliament’s both houses to review and pass the new Bill before India’s President signs India’s
accession to the Hong Kong Convention. My warmest congratulations to India’s ship recyclers!”
 
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For further enquiries, contact us at: bd@gmsinc.net
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