Skip to main content

Confidential report on Alang shipbreaking yard, Gujarat, "lists" hazardous chemicals, heavy metals that ships leak

By Our Representative
A confidential report, paid for by the world’s renowned Copenhagen-based shipping giant Maersk, and prepared by one of the most respected consultancies in the shipping industry, Litehauz, has reportedly listed the heavy metals and hazardous chemicals that the ships leak and which can be measured in the environment around the Alang shipbreaking yard in Gujarat.
The report, quoted by Danwatch, a Danish non-profit organization, says that the method of beaching ships at full power at Alang, as also other shipbreaking yards in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, is “one of the most harmful impacts on the environment.”
“A large amount of anti-fouling paint – which contains chemicals that kill plants and animals – is scraped off the hull as the ship comes to a halt on the beach”, the report says, even as adding, “The ships are broken in the intertidal zone, meaning that seawater flows in and out of the ships.”
“The tide in Alang is a massive 13 metres and, as it rises, it picks up oil, chemicals and wastewater that are exposed to the environment when the bulkhead and pipes are partitioned”, the report says.
The report believes, “Avoiding the problem by cleaning all pipes before cutting does not appear feasible. More fundamental and costly changes to the intertidal zone recycling method would encompass the building of structures allowing the vessel to be lightened horizontally by cranes and the remaining still floating hull moved to a secure area with impermeable flooring.”
“The effort to develop and implement a feasible technology is estimated to be 1-3 years and considerably more than 100 000 euro,” it adds.
The report further says, “The use of torch cutting to break the ships also presents serious environmental risks. As the ship is cut up in the intertidal zone, paint on the hull is burned away, releasing hazardous particles into the atmosphere, while paint chips and melted steel is leached into the sea.”
Pointing out that “there are no physical safeguards that can prevent this from happening”, the report says, “Breaking a 10,000 ton ship in an intertidal zone using torch cutting will release around 120 tons of molten steel and two or three tons of paint.”
Comments Danwatch, making the confidential report as the basis of its recent opposition to Maersk Georgia and Maersk Wyoming, currently lying on Alang shipyard for dismantling, these are “twice that size.” It contends, the two ships were sent to Alang because the profits of Maersk had begun to plunge.
Says Danwatch, “On February 10, 2016, Maersk had distributed its annual report which said the profits of the company had gone down from 5.1 billion US dollars in 2014 to 920 million US dollars in 2015, a financial headache for the firm to which markets reacted by sending its stock price into the cellar.”
“But Maersk had already taken steps to help offset the disappointing result. At the bottom of page 15 in their newly-released Sustainability Report for 2015, the company explains that it expects to save 150 million US dollars by disposing of their decommissioned ships at a shipbreaking yard on a beach in India”, it adds.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.