ClassNK Certification For Ship Breaking Yards in India

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On 29th September, 2015 two Indian ship breaking yards based in Alang, Gujarat won the compliance status with IMO’s Hong Kong International Convention for safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.

The Japan-based global ship classification society ClassNK , recognised R. L. Kalthia Ship Breaking Pvt. Ltd and Priya Blue Industries Pvt. Ltd as meeting the pre-requisite standards in safety and environmental recycling in shipbreaking norms.  This is the first time that south Asian ship breaking yards are certified to meet international safety standards.  This would serve as an example to dispel the wrong impression about the methods used in  shipbreaking on the shores of Alang, Gujarat, India.  This recognition will pave way for more ship breaking yards to follow safe and environmentally sound processes.

The beaching method of ship dismantling involves grounding the ship before it is broken down.  This method is known to pose great hazards to human lives as well as the environment.  The IMO does not outright reject or ban this method, but  in a ship recycling regulation published by the European Union earlier this year, there is a clear recommendation that ship dismantling should be a purely dry-dock activity and beaching should be banned.

The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships has not come into global effect, as it is yet to be ratified by the pre-requisite for 15 member states representing 40% of the world’s merchant shipping gross tonnage.

In a process that took nearly 30 months, both companies R. L. Kalthia Ship Breaking Pvt. Ltd and Priya Blue Industries Pvt. Ltd  carried out substantial improvements to their facilities to enable safer and greener ship recycling as well as being certified by ClassNK.  Both the companies prepared and submitted their ship recycling facility plans (SRFPs) that was reviewed by ClassNK.  Only after verification and confirmation that the process followed is as per the SRFP and after further inspection the companies were issued SoC.

Two more ship recyclers—Leela Ship Recycling Pvt. Ltd and the Shree Ram Group—also in Alang, are currently being technically appraised by ClassNK for compliance certification.

All the ship-breaking yards at Alang put together dismantle approximately 6,604 vessels and produced about 3 million MTs of scrap metal annually.  Alang holds the record for frequent accidents reported from many of the recycling units situated along the coast of Gujarat. A death of 470 workers has been shown since its inception in 1983.  Reports of more than 400 fire incidents, 141 fatal accidents and 301 non-fatal have also been reported since 1983.

This certification from ClassNK  will help change the global perception about Alang and this could prove to be beneficial for the Indian ship-breaking industry as, it would now be viewed as a safe and environmentally friendly place to do business with.  Compliance alone could save this Industry that employs more than 50,000 people and there are nearly 70 ship breaking yards that need an upgrade to be eligible for certification.

Source: ClassNK