India is proposing to frame a new law for ship-recycling in tune with global standards, which will enable it to accede to the Hong Kong Convention that enlists environmentally sound conditions of ship recycling. The move will help India double its ship-recycling capacity over the next five years.
The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) adopted the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships in 2009, which is aimed at ensuring that ships being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and to the environment. Available data showed that in 2018, India handled about five million gross tonnage (MnGT) annually, which is nearly 25% share of the world’s ship recycling industry. The government plans to nearly double this by 2024 to about nine MnGT.
As part of the shipping ministry’s five year vision, it is looking to attract ships from developed countries to be recycled at ship-breaking yards in the country.
“We plan to introduce a new law on ship recycling, in tune with the Hong Kong Convention on ship-recycling,” a government official said. In July this year, Germany became the 13th country to accede to the convention. One of the conditions for the convention to come into force is that at least 15 countries ratify it.
As per IMO, the Hong Kong Convention intends to address all the issues around ship recycling, including the fact that ships sold for scrapping may contain environmentally hazardous substances. It also addresses concerns raised about the working and environmental conditions at many of the world’s ship recycling locations.
“This will allow us to have ships come in from countries like Japan, Korea, to be recycled at our shipbreaking yards. At present, a lot of countries raise environment and safety issues related to the ship-wrecking industry in India,” the official added, asking not to be identified.
The industry being largely concentrated in South Asia, India remains the leading market for ship-wrecking globally, with the Alang-Sosiya ship breaking yard in Gujarat handling around 450 ships every year.