The benefits that arise from recycling ships are many. When ship is recycled every part of its hull, machinery, equipment, fitting and even furniture us re-used. The industry contributes to the economic development of the country by direct employment to thousands of workers hailing from the various states of country, business opportunities to many ancillary industries, shipping agents, cash buyers, marine traders and brokers, transporters, gas plants etc. Ship Recycling Industry provides balance to the steel sector of the nation.
While the principle of the ship recycling is sound one, the working practices and environmental standards in recycling yards often left much to be desired. Consequent upon the pressure from politician and administrations, to regulate Ship Recycling with international common standard, the civil society campaigned for a safer and a more environment friendly Ship Recycling Industry. Due to public outcry in 1980s to combat the “toxic trade” a convention was developed. This was “Basel Convention on the control of Trans-boundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal”. But, in the very initial stage it became apparent that the enforcement of the “Basel Convention” is difficult from practical and legal aspects, and was magnified by European Union.
IMO developed a new international convention, “Hong Kong Convention for establishment of mandatory requirements that would ensure an equivalent level of control as that established under “Basel Convention”. In India, this convention failed to get the ratification by Government of India, as (i) the convention on Ship Recycling is against the interest of country (ii) the convention is totally a biased one without casting obligation on ship owners or ship builders (iii) the country would not achieve anything except international interference and (iv) the comprehensive Code on Ship Recycling is under finalization by Steel Ministry as directed by the Hon. Supreme Court of India.
India has also made considerable progress in the last five years. Following the judgement of India's Supreme Court's on the case of the “Blue Lady” in September 2007, the ship recycling industry had to satisfy new domestic legislation requiring recyclers to conform to most of the requirements of the then draft ship recycling convention on matters relating to safety, training, waste management and environmental protection. Consequently the Convention, as adopted, does not pose any additional major technical requirements to recycling facilities in India. As also witnessed in two visits of IMO authorities to Alang, significant improvements have taken and are taking place across the industry. Furthermore, a number of Indian recyclers are investing in safety measures, environmental protection and social welfare that are above statutory requirements. (Excerpt from: Ship Recycling Markets and the impact of the Honkong Convention by Dr Nikos Mikelis,*Nonexecutive director, GMS)
A ship recycling facility at Alang-Sosiya is mainly on the basis of the following criteria:
The work force is trained for its respective jobs:
The workers are imparted proper training for their respective jobs and no worker is allowed to work without proper training. The industry is full of risks and accidents and that is why imparting of proper training is all the more necessary. The motto of the industry is to bring the "Zero Level" accidents.
“Safety First-Then Production”
“Ensure to Employ only Trained Workers”
The quotes carry the importance of Safety & Training and the Ship Recyclers are following the dictum in true letter and spirit.
The strict compliance for non-employment of children in the ship breaking activities is observed.