GMS Counters BBC Article on Ship Breaking in Alang
Ship Breaking AlangNGO Shipbreaking Platform

GMS Counters BBC Article on Ship Breaking in Alang

World's leading cash buyer of ships for recycling GMS said that “British Broadcasting Corporation published a news article titled 'UK cruise ships

World's leading cash buyer of ships for recycling GMS said that “British Broadcasting Corporation published a news article titled 'UK cruise ships scrapped in India's ship graveyard' on 1st March 2021. The content of the article is purely based on opinions without verifying the actual facts. Addressing Alang, a coastal village in Gujarat in India, as a ship's graveyard is not as per the real facts. Alang is the place where ships are recycled in a sustainable way. The whole recycling activity is carried out as per accepted international and domestic standards. Recycling is regulated by the national laws for ship recycling. India has ratified the Hong Kong Convention for safe and environmentally sound recycling ships. In fact, ship recycling in India is a notable example of the circular economy.”

GMS added “Major blue-chip ship owners from Japan, Norway, Denmark, Italy, and other developed nations have visited, inspected, audited, and vetted the recycling facilities at Alang. Based on the facts observed at Alang, they have been sustainably recycling their vessels in India. Japanese shipowners' association and the Danish shipowners' association representatives have visited and vetted the recycling facilities to their satisfaction. More than 1000 foreign nationals have visited the Alang to diagnose the difference between facts and opinions spread about the ship recycling at Alang. These visitors are none other than the ship owners, classification society representatives, auditors, safety inspectors, diplomats, capital providers, delegates from international banks and pension funds, etc.”

GMS said “The infrastructure consists of impermeable floors, fire-fighting arrangements, application of heavy duty cranes, training to workers, effective hazardous waste management etc. At present there are 92 out of 120 (77%) yards are Hong Kong Convention compliant and received Statement of Compliance from leading classification societies. The classification societies include ClassNk, Lloyd's Register, RINA, and Indian Register of Shipping. They all are members of the International Association of Classification Societies who are the Recognized Organizations for implementing various international conventions on behalf of flag states.”

GMS also said “The remark made in the article about Alang being 'a stretch of muddy beach' is merely incorrect and out of context. Alang is blessed with the natural sea front of a hard-rocky bottom with a slope of 15 degrees. This makes it convenient to deliver the vessel to the recycling yards along the side of the sea front. Alang is not a muddy beach, but it's a complete ecosphere of the recycling yards, backyards, neighboring villages, steel mills, spare parts warehouses, and yard workers. It is a notable example of how recycling of end-of-life vessels becomes a green circular economy. More than 700 shops sell materials recovered from the recycled vessels. These materials include unused spare parts, old machinery & equipment, cutlery, furniture, special tools, etc. The steel plates extracted from the vessels are used in the adjacent steel re-rolling mills.”

BBC in an article on 1 March “UK cruise ships scrapped in India's 'ship graveyard” had said “Two UK cruise ships have been scrapped on an Indian beach despite assurances they would continue to be operated. Ships at the end of their lives are considered hazardous waste and it is illegal to send them to developing countries from the UK. But months after being sold at auction to buyers outside the UK they were then sold on as scrap for double the price. As they were set to be used for further trading when they left UK waters, their arrival in India does not break UK law. An investigation by the BBC's File on 4 programme found at least 13 other ships, mostly cargo ships, linked to the UK had arrived at the scrapping beaches of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh since the start of 2020.”

BBC report said “The ship breaking yards of Alang dominate a stretch of muddy beach just up the coast from Mumbai in north-west India, referred to as the world's largest ship graveyard. There are serious concerns about the environmental impact and working conditions in the ship-breaking industry across south Asia. The organisation Ship breaking Platform has documented the deaths of more than 400 workers on these beaches since 2009.

It has recorded fatal accidents in the yards from workers falling from height and being killed in gas explosions, as well as longer-term sickness from exposure to toxic materials such as asbestos.”

NGO Shipbreaking Platform's Executive Director & Founder Ms Ingvild Jenssen said “Despite laws in place making it illegal for developed countries like the UK to send hazardous waste such as old ships to developing countries, they continue to arrive "There is a lot of value in these vessels because they contain large amounts of steel. But they also contain large amounts of hazardous materials: asbestos; heavy metals; lead, and many materials you need to take large precautions when you're dealing with them."

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