Upgrading beaching yards in Alang, India is the wrong approach to solving the issue of substandard shipbreaking activities, says NGO Shipbreaking Platform’s Executive Director Patrizia Heidegger, responding to Maersk Line’s plans to send two of its containerships to the country’s Shree Ram yard for recycling in late May 2016.
“While the Platform welcomes that the Maersk Group intends to promote responsible ship recycling, we believe that upgrading beaching yards is the wrong approach. Breaking ships on a tidal beach is a substandard method that has to be phased out,” Heidegger told World Maritime News.
Heidegger added that the primary cutting of the vessels takes place “on a beach, that is, in an unprotected marine environment. The yard uses the gravity method and cut blocks crash onto the beach: this leads to the release of large amounts of debris including toxic paint chips. Moreover, the method poses unnecessary risk to the workers. A beaching yard would never be authorised in Europe or other major shipping nations such as Japan.”
“We believe that the world’s leading ship owner should team up with other key stakeholders, such as other shipping companies from Europe and Japan, and invest in modern ship recycling facilities off the beach that would also be able to qualify for the European list of approved yards,” she said.
The Danish shipping giant earlier announced its long-term commitment to create “more responsible” recycling options in Alang, India, as well as help the ship recycling yard to upgrade facilities and practices to comply with the company’s standards as the group eyes cost reductions for its ship recycling.
World Maritime News Staff