In a first time ever for India, the European Commission (EC) visited Alang with the task of assessing two of the 11 Indian yards which have applied to be included in the EU list of yards where EU-flagged vessels can be dismantled. One of the audited yards is owned by the Shree Ram Group.
This is a big step forward for an Industry that employs close to 15,000 people in Alang alone and traditionally follows unsafe practices in the dismantling of vessels thereby posing a threat to the people employed as well as the surrounding environment.
“The EC´s audit indicates that progress in these yards has come far enough for the EU to consider the application relevant for assessment. We are moving away from traditionally substandard working conditions and proving that responsible, and commercial ship recycling can be done successfully in India if provided with the right skills, mindset and investments. At Shree Ram Group, we have been fully committed to this transformation and will continue to invest in creating new benchmarks in this area for ourselves, and for the industry around us”, explains Chetan Patel, Owner and Director of the Shree Ram Group.
The European delegation is currently writing its technical report, and the Shree Ram Group expects it would pay particular attention to the investments and key upgrades done over the past years. “To name just a few, we have invested in extending the impermeable flooring in the front yard and constructing it in the back yard, bought 300 tonnes cranes and rolled out a breaking process which fully eliminates any contact between blocks from primary cutting and the intertidal zone. In addition, we ensure all secondary and tertiary cutting takes place only on impermeable floors and provide housing for all workers based on ILO standards, contracts and minimum wages,” says Chetan.
“More than 20 shipyards outside the EU have applied for inclusion in the EU List. So far, there has not been enough time to audit all of them and only one US yard and two Turkish yards -audited before summer- have been included in the latest version of the list which is currently awaiting comments from Member States. I hope that Europe gives all applicants equal opportunities and the inclusion of my yard happens in 2019. I am eager to hear the assessment from the EC on what we have done so far and where we can improve further,” he adds.
The audited yards from the Shree Ram Group have already secured a statement of compliance from Class NK to The Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships, and have been working with by Denmark-based, publicly listed AP Moller-Maersk which is committed to develop Alang as a yard adhering to global benchmarks.
The inclusion of the yard owned by the Shree Ram Group in the EC’s list will mean that large commercial seagoing vessels flying the flag of EU member states will also be allowed to recycle in India.
Sea News, November 2