Following the Maersk Group’s recent announcement of its long-term commitment to create more responsible recycling options in Alang, India, an agreement has been reached for the landing of the first two vessels. The Maersk Wyoming and the Maersk Georgia, two Maersk Line container vessels, are expected in Alang late May 2016. The vessels will be recycled at the Shree Ram yard in Alang which is certified to the standards of the Hong Kong Convention.
The market for ship recycling is dominated by practices unchanged for decades. Out of a total of 768 ships recycled globally in 2015, 469 – representing 74% of the total gross tonnage scrapped – were sold to facilities on beaches in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with challenges to workers and the environment.
The Maersk Group’s policy is to only recycle ships responsibly. Until recently, this was only feasible in a limited number of yards in China and Turkey.
“By initiating recycling of vessels in Alang at responsible yards, we ensure further development of financially feasible and responsible recycling options to the benefit of Alang and the shipping industry. This development will take time, but we are determined to work with the yards for the long haul,” says Annette Stube, Head of Sustainability in the Maersk Group.
Steady improvements of conditions have been witnessed in ship recycling yards in Alang in the last couple of years. Following several audits at upgraded facilities in Alang in 2015, the Maersk Group concluded that responsible recycling can be accelerated in the area, if the engagement is made now.
“The Alang plans come at a cost for us, but we will invest money and human resources to ensure we can already now scrap our vessels in compliance with the Hong Kong Convention provisions (HSE) as well as international standards on labor conditions and anti-corruption. We will also have staff on-site at Shree Ram. They will be working closely with the yard to further upgrade practices, processes and facilities to ensure that the recycling of our vessels complies with our standards,” says Annette Stube.
To accelerate the upgrade of more yards in Alang, the Maersk Group is working on building a broader collaboration with other ship owners to increase demand for responsible ship recycling and to find sustainable solutions. A first step is a dialogue with Japanese ship owners in collaboration with the Japanese ship owners association (JSA) in the coming months.