India – The world’s largest container shipping company Maersk has announced a commitment to help selected ship recycling yards at Alang in India to upgrade facilities and practices to comply with the company’s standards.
‘With more vessels to be recycled in the future, the current cost of sustainable ship recycling is not feasible,’ it states. ‘The Maersk Group is determined to use its leverage to create more responsible recycling options.’ Around two-thirds of the 768 ships recycled globally in 2015, and almost 75% of the total gross tonnage scrapped, were sold to beaching operations in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh – a practice which has attracted widespread criticism for its toll on workers and the environment.
‘The Maersk Group’s policy is to only recycle ships responsibly,’ comments Maersk’s head of sustainability Annette Stube. ‘There has, however, been no change in practices in this area and, today, responsible recycling is only feasible in a limited number of yards in China and Turkey.’
In order to improve conditions on a broader scale at Alang, Maersk is working on building a coalition with ship owners and has initiated engagement with a number of selected yards. ‘This includes improving local waste facilities and hospitals – and upgrading the housing conditions for the migrant workers,’ it points out.
Over the past two to three years, ship recycling facilities at Alang have witnessed some improvement. Four of its yards are claimed to be certified to the standards of the International Maritime Organization and the Hong Kong Convention.
Ship recycling best practice in South Asia will be a topic covered in the March 2016 issue of Recycling International.