The International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships in 2009, which is aimed at ensuring that ships being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and to the environment.
The cabinet committee on economic affairs (CCEA), this month (in November 2019) has approved India’s accession to the Convention, which will help provide a boost to the ship recycling industry in India.
The accession to the Convention will bring in global best practices. The aim is not that India becomes a backyard of all rejected ships, but on the contrary plans to scientifically deal with ship recycling. It will also introduce environment protection and will provide safety to workers, which are of greater importance.
As per data available for 2018, India handles around five million gross tonnage (MnGT) annually, which is around 25% of the world’s ship recycling industry. The government plans to nearly double this by 2024, at around nine MnGT. The industry being largely concentrated in South Asia, India remains the leading market for ship recycling globally, with the Alang-Sosiya ship breaking yard in Gujarat handling around 450 ships every year.
The accession to the Convention will allow global funds to come and invest in ship recycling centres in India and a lot of international agencies are also looking at India’s high-class facilities.
IRClass has been instrumental in ensuring compliance of the ship recycling facilities with the Hong Kong Convention (HKC). Our services include:
Certification as per Ship Recycling Management System (SRMS) and HKC
Evaluation on behalf of Gujarat Maritime Board.
Under its integrated certification scheme, IRClass has certified 32 ship recycling yards in India for “QMS, EMS ,OHSAS & SRMS”. Out of these 11 have also been certified for HKC.
Training is an important area where IRClass is playing a lead role in bridging the gap between the practices of recycling yards and the HKC. IRClass has been authorised by Gujarat Maritime Board to evaluate the training of workers. Based on our individual contracts with each yard, IRClass imparts High Risk Safety Training for their inhouse employees and also conducts public trainings to increase awareness.
Subsequent to the involvement of IRClass, there has been a tremendous improvement in facility operations especially in primary cutting areas and handling of oily block in intertidal zones. There is increased awareness with respect to the Ship Recycling Facility Plan (SRFP), safety procedures, segregation, handling and storage of materials and emergency preparedness. Emphasis is on environmental compliance through soil testing, sea water testing, noise testing and periodic health monitoring of the workers. Due to the practical based training evaluation pattern, there is a definite drop in the accident/incident rates.
Though the Hong Kong Ship Recycling Convention has not come into force, the European Union Ship Recycling Regulation (EU-SRR) (which is mostly aligned with the Hong Kong Convention) will come into force from 31 December 2020 for non-EU flagged ships. Accordingly, once the regulation (EU-SRR) comes into force all non-EU flagged ships, including Liberian ships calling at an EU port or anchorage, will be required to comply with EU-SRR.
For non-EU ships, compliance to EU-SRR can be achieved by having Statement of Compliance (SOC) in accordance with Hong Kong Ship Recycling Convention supplemented by verified Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) onboard.
IRClass is providing these services to interested shipowners. Currently various flag Administrations including Bahamas, Marshall Islands, Malta and Netherland have already authorised IRClass to undertake the above survey and certification service on their behalf.