Asia’s largest ship recycling yard has witnessed a hostile situation

Nayan Dave writes

Asia’s largest ship recycling yard at Alang on the west coast of Gujarat is witnessing an upheaval as shipbreakers have scrapped more ships between 2021-22, but they can hold about 3.5 lakh tonnes less than the previous year.

According to the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), a regulatory authority at Alang Ship Recycling Yard, 209 ships were wrecked at Alang, compared to 187 ships in the previous year 2020-21. However, the yard handles 14.11 lakh light displacement tonnage (LDT) per year, compared to 17.60 lakh LDT (cargo, fuel, passenger and crew weight).

When contacted, a senior GMB official said the LDT at Alang Yard had dropped due to the arrival of small vessels. In addition, due to lack of oxygen and a strike by transporters, the demolition work in Alang was halted for about four months, the official added. Covid wave across Gujarat. The ship’s recycling unit was shut down as oxygen was cut off for treatment. It is impossible to cut heavy metals used on ships without oxygen. Again, in August, a strike by transporters disrupted recycling activities for about a month. ”

Haresh Parmar, secretary of the Ship Recycling Industries Association of India (SRI), blamed GMB for the disappointing performance, saying regulators had tripled fares when the central government announced plans to double the capacity of the Alang ship recycling yard. 2024.

Compared to similar recycling yards in neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh, Alang’s ship recyclers have to adhere to stricter safety and pollution regulations. So I can’t buy the ship that came to break down at a higher price. Second, Alang Yard still does not fully comply with European Union (EU) regulations regarding hazardous waste management and workers’ safety. As a result, ships belonging to the EU go to recycling yards based in Turkey and China, “Parmar said.

Due to this complicated situation, large ships did not come to Alang and were evacuated to either Pakistan or Bangladesh, he added, adding that the state as well as the central government would have to reduce fares and import duties until Alang Yard fully complied with the European Union. Regulations to make them competitors against their competitors in neighboring countries.

According to him, in October this year, a high-level team from the EU was coming to conduct an audit of the Medical Preservation and Disposal Facility (TSDF), state-of-the-art hospital for staff, etc. “We have a large number of large ships that comply with the EU regulations once a year,” said Mukesh Patel, a leading ship recycler.

Located about 55 km from Bhavnagar, Alang Yard has more than 150 recycling units providing direct employment to more than 20,000 workers. Most of them are migrants from states like Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh.

In the 2021 Union Budget, the Finance Minister announced the provision of rupee. 1624 crore to double the tonnage capacity of the yard. Alang Yard facilitates a long tidal range, long beaches with gentle slopes, and ship beaches at the very edge of the plot or unit. Since its inception in 1982-83, the largest number of ships (415) came to the yard for demolition in 2011-12. That year, 36.5 lakh LDT was handled here.

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