Skip to main content

Europe's ship breakers on promotional tour of Alang, but human rights, environmental activists denied access

Off Alang shipbeaking yard
By Our Representative
Europe's environmental and human rights activists have taken strong exception to the continent's shipowners visiting Alang on a promotional tour, but regretted, representatives of non-government organizations (NGOs) were "denied access" despite a promise earlier.
Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director, NGO Shipbreaking Platform, Brussels, has said in a statement that the European ship owners, government representatives of France, Germany and Belgium, and the European Commission were to visit the Alang shipbreaking yards.
Yet, Heidegger added, "Despite several indications that NGOs, including the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, would be part of the delegation, no NGO was invited to join in the end."
“We were clearly not welcome to join this visit. Critical civil society voices are not wanted in Alang – neither by ship owners, nor by the yards – this confirms the lack of transparency under which the yards in Alang operate,” said Heidegger.
The delegation visiting Alang had, in its itenirary, showed that it would have no meeting with trade union representatives or workers, and would only visit a selection of very few yards.
The visit is organised by industry association ECSA (European Community Shipowners’ Association) that represents the interests of European ship owners.
:It is an attempt by both ship owners and certain yards in India to convince European policy makers that yards in Alang should be approved for the upcoming EU list of accepted ship recycling facilities", Heidegger said.
"However", the NGO top representative added, "Under the European Ship Recycling Regulation and the recently published technical guidelines on the requirements for ship recycling facilities, it is clear that beaching facilities do not qualify for the European Union list."
Heidegger claimed, "Local environmental groups have raised several concerns related to the deplorable working conditions, poor downstream waste management and continued pollution of the coastal waters in Alang."
“We share the Gujarat-based NGOs’ concerns and demand that European ship owners do not settle for double standards", Heidegger said, adding, "European ship owners should only use facilities that operate at a level which is accepted in the European Union. The low-cost method of beaching will not feature on the European Union list.”
The visit was organized around the time when ship recycling activities at Alang, situated in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar district, have picked pace in the last three months.
Between January and March, say reports, a total of 120 old ships beached there — nearly 80 per cent more than the number of ships that visited the yard during the same period in 2015.
“In the last three months of the previous financial year, we have seen a lot of activities. The number of ships that visited Alang during this period is almost the total number of vessels beached here during the first three quarters of 2015-16,” captain Sudhir Chadha, port officer at Alang, has been quoted at saying.
Only 129 ships beached at Alang for recycling between April 2015 and December 2015, when the business witnessed one of the worst slumps. From January to March 2015, only 67 vessels had come to the yard.
However, another calculation said that business at Alang had still not become normal, with just only 249 ships reaching the yard during 2015-16 — an eight-year low. Such lows were seen only during the 2006-07 slowdown, when 136 ships visited Alang.
Meanwhile, the shipbreakers at Alang blamed the “poor performance” on the Baltic Dry Index — which measures the rates paid to hire ships of different sizes to transport dry bulk commodities.The Baltic Dry Index hit an all-time low in February this year.
The freight market was down, and so it was becoming unviable for ship owners to hold onto their old ships or operate them. Such ships were easily available in the international markets at affordable rates to shipbreakers.
However, at Alang, the ship breakers complained, they were still struggling. The steel prices continued to remain low, and the infrastructure and real-estate sector continue to underperform.
The worst months of 2015-16 were October and August when only four and nine ships, respectively, came to be broken. The best month has been February 2016, when 50 ships arrived.

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.

Shabana Azmi joins Pak physicist Hoodbhoy to condemn B'desh anti-minority violence

By Our Representative  Several well-known South Asian activists and public figures of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives have expressed “deep distress” by the spate of violence and killings in Bangladesh on the occasion of Durga Puja and Vijayadashami. “Attacks on minorities are a sign of injustice and a matter of shame for any society and bring a bad name to the Government”, they said in a joint statement.

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.