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Current Affairs

Government proposal to regulate dismantling of ships

Date: 11 December 2019 Tags: Commerce & Industry

Issue

The Lok Sabha has passed The Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019, which seeks to restrict the use of hazardous material on ships, and regulates the recycling of ships.

 

Background

India is the leader in the global ship recycling industry, with a share of over 30% of the market. As per the Review of Maritime Transport, 2018 report published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in 2017, India demolished 6,323 tonnes of known ship scrapping worldwide.

 

Details

  • The Bill restricts and prohibits the use or installation of hazardous material, irrespective of whether a ship is meant for recycling or not.

  • For new ships, the restrictions/prohibitions will come into effect along with the law. Existing ships will have five years to comply with the requirements of the law.

  • The Bill will apply to:

  • any new or existing ship which is registered in India,

  • ships entering a port or terminal in India, or the territorial waters of India,

  • any warship, or other ship owned and operated by an administration and used on government non-commercial service, and

  • Ship recycling facilities operating in India.

 

            Ship recycling

  • The Bill defines this as the dismantling of a ship at a designated facility in order to recover its components and materials for reuse, and taking care of the hazardous material so produced.

  • Ship recycling includes associated operations such as storage and treatment of materials and components on site.

  • Under the proposed law, ships will be recycled only in authorised recycling facilities. An application to authorise such a facility must be submitted to the Competent Authority notified by the central government, along with a ship recycling facility management plan and the prescribed fee.

  • All existing ship recycling facilities will be required to apply for authorisation within 60 days of the commencement of the Act. The certificate of authorisation will be valid for a period as specified, but not exceeding five years.

Ship breaking industry

  • The global ship breaking industry is largely concentrated in South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh) and China.

  • Among developed countries, ship breaking is primarily concentrated in United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, Turkey etc.

  • Alang (Gujarat) stands as the largest in the world with a capacity of 450 ships a year.

  • The primary ship breaking centres of India are located on the west coast. The Indian Ship-breaking industry generates resources such as re-rolling scrap, melting scrap, cast Iron scrap, non-ferrous metals, machinery, and wooden articles.

Key problems associated

  • Environmental Pollution

Dumping of toxic materials like asbestos, radiation causing toxic wastes, polyurethane and used furnace oil polluting the beaches.

  • Workers Safety

Unskilled workers are employed to manually break the ships which are full of toxic substances like lead, asbestos etc.

 

  • Lack of Health Facilities

Despite of thousands of workers deployed at a ship breaking site there is hardly any provision of doctors or clinics to meet any emergencies.

 

  • Laws around Ship Breaking

There are weak international laws around ship breaking industry. The Hong Kong convention was adopted by International Maritime Organization in 2009.