Two container vessels, the Maersk Wyoming and the Maersk Georgia, are expected to arrive in India’s Shree Ram yard in Alang for recycling in late May 2016, the Danish giant Maersk Line said.
The company added that it reached a deal for the landing of the first two vessels at the yard, which is certified to the standards of the Hong Kong Convention.
The move follows Maersk Group’s announcement of its long-term commitment to create more responsible recycling options in Alang, India, as well as help the ship recycling yard to upgrade facilities and practices to comply with the company’s standards as the group eyes cost reductions for its ship recycling.
“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,” Annette Stube, Head of Sustainability in the Maersk Group, said.
However, Indian NGOs are concerned about the negative environmental impact of dismantling end-of-life vessels in the intertidal zone in Alang where large amounts of debris, including toxic paint chips, are released, accumulate in the environment and are washed out by the tide.
The NGOs added that the secondary cutting areas, which have been concreted in some of the beaching yards, show cracks in the surface, raising doubts as to whether they can qualify as impermeable floors.
Out of a total of 768 ships recycled globally in 2015, 469 – representing 74% of the total gross tonnage scrapped – were sold to facilities on beaches in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with challenges to workers and the environment, according to Maersk.