The European Community Shipowner Association (ECSA) has called for the European Commission to help, rather than dismiss yards in Alang, India as they attempt to meet international standards.
“Alang is today one of the most important centres for ship recycling and is likely to remain so for many years to come,” ECSA said in a statement.
“With close to 70 per cent of all vessels being recycled in South Asia, it is of utmost importance to secure that responsible practices are encouraged. The EU has a great tool at its disposal to achieve this, but seems unfortunately to have chosen a very different path.”
The association said it had seen “first-hand” evidence of investments to improve the recycling yards and to meet the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships.
“Heavy investments have been made to place concrete flooring, effective drainage systems, appropriate downstream management and more decent housing,” the statement reads.
“Alang and other places in South Asia have for years been criticised for poor standards – and rightly so, but, a positive development has begun and this should be supported not undermined”, said ECSA President Niels Smedegaard, “Whilst there are yards where improvements are clearly necessary, others have already taken the lead in changing their recycling practices to reflect advanced modern standards.”
At European level, the EU Ship Recycling Regulation could prove to be a game-changer, ECSA believes. “If applied with a constructive and inclusive approach, the EU list for recycling yards could be the ‘carrot’ that enables a fundamental change in the way recycling is carried out globally.”