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Alang shipbreakers warned against dumping waste

Following the finding of a high amount of hazardous industrial waste that was being dumped in a creek near Sisodiya Yard in Alang, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) held an emergency meeting with Alang Ship Breakers’ Association. They were also warned against dumping hazardous waste in the yard.

Despite a state government solid and hazard waste management plant that has been set up at the cost of more than Rs 3 crore, shipbreakers dump waste such as chemicals, plastic, iron and wooden scrap with impunity in the yard.

The recent case in point was the finding of the industrial waste dumped in the creek near Sisodiya Yard of Alang Ship Breaking Yard.

By: Sandesh

Source: The Times of India, Ahmedabad, June 27, 2010





THE ARRIVAL of two ships of North Korean origin at the world’s largest ship-breaking yard in Alang, Gujarat, has sparked a major controversy because of their highly ‘toxic cargo.’ Environmentalists have petitioned the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) to take a closer look at the two vessels — MV Theresa III and MV Theresa VIII — which will soon be dismantled by workers at the site.

“The state government needs to act immediately,” says Gopal Krishna of ToxicsWatch Alliance, a watchdog body active in Alang. Pressure from environmentalists had earlier forced the GMB to send back MT Mar, a Latvian vessel laden with asbestos and other toxic material.

Nearly 17,000 workers — unaware of the danger — slog for long hours exposed to the ships’ life-threatening cargo. The vessels, confirm India’s environment and steel ministries, carry tonnes of asbestos-laden material that are considered extremely hazardous. A recent independent study at Alang found 13 percent workers handling asbestos were exposed to carcinogenic substances. The report followed the visit last February of a factfinding UN team that tracked over 200 highly toxic vessels, in which men worked in the most appalling conditions.

Highly placed sources told TEHELKA that the two North Korean ships had been bought by one Kamal Kejriwal (a middleman) of Demo Shipping. GMB officials say there is nothing much to worry about because the ships will be brought regularly to Alang for dismantling. Disturbingly, though, it is difficult to trace the flag of the North Korean vessels, because almost 90 percent of such ships use flags of convenience by registering dead vessels in Liberia, Panama, St Vincent, landlocked Mongolia and Tuvalu. “We can only caution the workers,” says D Patel, a GMB official. According to port officials at Alang who chose not be identified, Theresa III is on the outer anchor of Alang and yet to be given a No Objection Certificate (NoC) to dock or berth there. The official said, "All ships that are wrecked at Alang are thoroughly scrutinised by a team of officials comprising the Gujarat Pollution Control Board, the Atomic Energy Regulation Board and the Department of Explosives before being allowed to be dismantled. The ship in question has not been issued an NoC to anchor at Alang."

Nearly 17,000 workers slog for long hours on IN LETHAL the unsafe ships
NoC to anchor at Alang." Gujarat Pollution Control Board officials could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.

The Gujarat Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health has routinely received complaints about health violations at Alang, but their warnings have failed to deter the ship-breakers. Says Praveen Nagarseth, head of India’s largest shipbreaking association: “Reclamation and recycling is a highly lucrative business and the workers wait for ships from all parts of the world. You cannot stop them.”

The lure of lucre has indeed won over humanitarian considerations. For, the workers who remain in prolonged contact with asbestos fibre slowly become victims of mesothelioma, an incurable form of lung cancer.

“Toxic vessels at Alang must be banned,” says Dr George Karimundackal of the Mumbai-based Tata Memorial Hospital. But so far it would seem that only he is complaining.


From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 7, Issue 25, Dated June 26, 2010


New Toxic Ships in Alang

Kind Attention: Ministry of Shipping
Ministry of Environment & Forests
Ministry of Steel

MSC Arabia, a cargo built in 1972 has reached in the Indian waters and is on its way to Alang. It is carrying the flag of Malta. Its IMO no. is 7121671. Its last known port was Jebel Ali.

MT MAR (Chemical Tanker) Arrived at Alang Anchorage on 07.05.2010, Purchased by plot No.9, LDT 9652 Charter Party Claim is there, hence end buyer dropped the deal. Waiting for new buyer. (Agent Natraj Shipping Agency)

MT Theressa-III (Chemical Tanker) Arrived at Alang Anchorage on 14.06.2010, Purchased by Plot No.24-B, LDT 5665 (Agent Demo Shipping Agency). Suspected of Aetomic waste on Board. GPCB yet to clear the ship.

MT Theressa-VIII (Chemical Tanker) Arrived at Alang on 19.06.2010, Purchased by Plot No.05, LTD 6329 (Agent Demo Shipping Agency) Suspected of Atomic waste on Board. GPCB yet to clear the ship.

More details will be shared shortly.


Plunder of ‘Platinum-II' & maritime control and safety

“Phet” helps thieves plunder ‘Platinum-II'

Even as cyclone “Phet” that finally hit Oman, deterred anyone from the Gujarat coastline to venture into the sea, some thieves had a heyday trying to take advantage of the fear of the storm to plunder the “Platinum-II,” the condemned ship anchored in the high seas off the Bhavnagar coast in the Saurashtra region.

Originally registered in the United States, “Platinum-II” changed hands and nomenclature several times before it was brought to the Alang ship-breaking yard for dismantling. Work on the ship was stalled due to complaints that it carried hazardous and toxic materials. It was plundered when the security personnel on the ship were withdrawn to the shore due to the cyclone threat last week.

Anchored for months

The ship had remained anchored in the high seas near Gopinath off the Saurashtra coast for the last few months after the Central government and the Gujarat Maritime Board failed to take a decision on permitting the vessel to berth at Alang for dismantling. The ship was being guarded by the security personnel in the high seas.

maritime control and safety

On 26th April, 2010, in Lok Sabha S.S. Ramasubbu asked the Union Minister of Shipping to inform whether the Government has taken any steps to improve the maritime control and safety also to clean the approaches and vicinity of the ports.

G K Vasan, the Shipping Minister replied: The Govt. has taken the following steps:-
(1) Administration carries out Port State Control and Flag State Inspection of foreign and Indian Ships with regard to their compliance of International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions for
safety, security and pollution prevention.
(2) Creation of Maritime Assistance Service (MAS) with Directorate General of Shipping as contact
point for ships in need of assistance through M.S. Notice dated 30th June’ 2008.
(3) Creation of National Data Centre (NDC) for Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) system for all Indian ships above 300 GT anywhere in the world.
(4) Detection of ships above 100 GT by the land based Automatic Identification System (AIS) receivers under the International Ship and Port facility Security (ISPS) Code requirements through the ISPS circular dated 06th January’2009. (5) Tracking of all Indian Ships above 500 GT by communication centre located at DG Shipping through Ship Security Alert System (SSAS) under ISPS Code, located anywhere in the world.
(6) Compulsory ship reporting system for Indian ships and recommendatory reporting for foreign ships within Indian search and Rescue Regions for the purpose of Search and Rescue (SAR) Operation through M.S. Notice dated 30th June’ 2008.
(7) Issuance of (67) sixty seven two number of Casualty Circulars as part of sharing of lessons learnt from shipping casualties.
(8) Establishment of Safety fairways and recommended routes in the Arabian Sea to enhance safety of Maritime traffic, through M.S. Notice dated 30th June’ 2008.

Labourer dies due to gas leak in Alang ship-breaking yard

One labourer died and another injured due to gas leak in the Alang ship-breaking yard, police said.

The incident took place Sunday at the plot 135 of the Sisodiya Ship-breaking yard in Alang where two labourers were cleaning a tank of a ship brought for scraping, they said.

According to police, while the labourers were cleaning a tank in the ship there was gas-leakage following which both of them fainted.

They were admitted to government hospital where one of them died during treatment and other's condition was stated as stable, police said.

The labourer who died has been identified as Jadulal Verma (32), they said, adding that a case has been registered in the matter and further investigation was on to find out the cause of leakage.

Daily News & Analysis
June 8, 2010