What happens to ships when they are no longer operational? These mammoth movers of the world’s commercial activities, at the end of their operational use, present big challenges in recycling or disposal. There may be health hazards from asbestos, hydrocarbons or heavy metals; they may pose safety risks for laborers working on them; and they may also present a pollution risk to the environment.
The International Maritime Organization (“IMO”) aims to minimize these dangers. Toward these goals, the IMO is working with the Government of Bangladesh in a major ship recycling project, “Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling in Bangladesh – Phase I.” Kemplon Engineering takes a closer look.
Along with India and Pakistan, Bangladesh is reportedly responsible for 58% of ship breaking in the first quarter of this year. 262 vessels were reportedly sold for dismantling at this time, and 151 of them landed on South Asian beaches. The industry in Bangladesh has had its share of criticism, however, including issues on environmental pollution on beaching yards, and the controversial use of underage workers that had even shut the industry down in 2010.
The “Safe and Environmentally Sound Ship Recycling in Bangladesh – Phase I” presents many opportunities for positive change. It will involve economic and environmental impact studies, cover hazardous material and waste management, reviews and upgrades of existing training practices, and will also provide recommendations.
This milestone project brings together the IMO’s Marine Environment Division and Bangladesh’s Ministry of Industries, and will also involve the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions, and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.
The ship recycling and ship breaking industry is not without its controversies and dangers, but it is good to see initiatives such as this, which involve key stakeholders as they aim for better practices.
^ “IMO Launches Milestone Ship Recycling Project.” The Maritime Executive, 09 Apr 2015. Web. 17 Apr 2015. http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/imo-and-bangladesh-launch-ship-recycling-project
^ “IMO Starts Ship Recycling Project in Bangladesh.” World Maritime News, 10 Apr 2015. Web. 17 Apr 2015. http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/157434/imo-starts-ship-recycling-project-in-bangladesh/
^ International Maritime Organization. “Recycling of ships.” IMO.org. Web. Accessed 17 Apr 2015. http://www.imo.org/OurWork/Environment/ShipRecycling/Pages/Default.aspx
^ “Over Half of Vessels Scrapped at Substandard South Asian Yards.” World Maritime News, 10 Apr 2015. Web. 17 Apr 2015. http://worldmaritimenews.com/archives/157445/over-half-of-vessels-scrapped-at-substandard-south-asian-yards/
^ Image “Recycle Icon On Computer Screen” courtesy of Stuart Miles via FreeDigitalPhotos.net