Under a long-term commitment to create more recycling options at Alang, Maersk Group will send two container vessels — Maersk Wyoming and Maersk Georgia — to be broken in the coastal town of Bhavnagar district.
These vessels will be broken at Shree Ram Yard which is certified to the standards of Hong Kong Convention, an official release stated Friday. Maersk Group used to recycle its ships at yards in China and Turkey.
“By initiating recycling of vessels in Alang at responsible yards, we ensure further development of financially feasible and responsible recycling options to the benefit of Alang and the shipping industry. This development will take time, but we are determined to work with the yards for the long haul,” said Annette Stube, head of sustainability in Maersk Group.
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Maersk’s move to send ships to Alang comes after two ship breaking yards in the town hit the headlines in November 2015 for becoming the first ship recycling facilities in South Asia to be issued Statements of Compliance (SoC) by Japan’s leading classification society ClassNK for taking steps for safer and greener ship recycling. These yards belonged to RL Kalthia Ship Breaking Pvt Ltd and Priya Blue Industries Pvt Ltd.
Steady improvement in the condition has been witnessed at ship recycling yards in Alang in the last couple of years. Following several audits at upgraded facilities in Alang in 2015, Maersk Group said it has concluded that responsible recycling can be accelerated in the area, if the engagement is made now.
The development comes as a boost to Alang where shipbreaking activities are at an eight year low. Only 249 ships had come to the yard during 2015-16.
“The Alang plans come at a cost for us, but we will invest money and human resources to ensure we can already now scrap our vessels in compliance with the Hong Kong Convention provisions (HSE) as well as international standards on labor conditions and anti-corruption. We will also have staff on-site at Shree Ram. They will be working closely with the yard to further upgrade practices, processes and facilities to ensure that the recycling of our vessels complies with our standards,” said Annette Stube.
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To accelerate the upgrade of more yards in Alang, Maersk Group is working on building a broader collaboration with other ship owners to increase demand for responsible ship recycling and to find sustainable solutions. One of the steps is a dialogue with Japanese ship owners in collaboration with the Japanese ship owners association (JSA) in the coming months.