The recent statement from the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA) regarding a ban on the beaching method of recycling ships used in the Indian sub-continent has drawn criticism from Singapore-based cash buyer Wirana Shipping Corporation.
The news was quite disappointing on the face of it, says Keyur Dave, CFO. “We honestly, were quite surprised to read it, as there are some Norwegian ship owners who are taking their vessels to the sub-continent for recycling, albeit only to the “green” yards. We really hope that we have understood it out of context and that there is another angle to it.
“We find it difficult to reconcile it to the fact that Norway has ratified the IMO Hong Kong Convention which does not ban beaching as far as the recycling practices and procedures are environmentally friendly, and yet this statement comes that NSA bans beaching. We hope that the recycling community will hear something positive from the NSA that reconciles the above paradox.”
Conversely, Dave welcomed the statement by Maria Bruun Skipper from the Danish Shipowners Association (DSA), stating that instead of banning any particular method merely on the basis of geography or the method of recycling, owners should look at individual yard standards.
“It would not be prudent to put a blanket ban on beaching without considering the commendable improvements made at some of the yards which are putting in time, money and efforts that are recognized and approved by a world class, reputable and proactive classification society,” says Dave. “In our opinion, the conviction in the DSA’s statement is a direct result of their going down to Alang and seeing the situation first hand. We encourage NSA members too to visit Alang and look at the facilities in the good yards, especially those under the Class NK program and they will be able to see the substantial improvements that have been made.”
Wirana Shipping Corporation claims to be the oldest cash buyer of ships for recycling in the world. “Wirana has always been an ardent proponent of environmentally friendly ship recycling,” says Dave. “We believe that responsible recycling can be done on the beaches as well. It is not important which method is used – beaching, landing, alongside or drydock. What is important is that the environment is not damaged and workers’ safety is taken care of.
“There are international experts who are ex-classification society employees and understand the subject in depth who are able to, not only confirm that this is true but have helped at least four yards in India who practice the beaching method to raise their standards and they are now about to be certified compliant to the Hong Kong Convention of IMO signed in 2009 by ClassNK.
“One of them is our yard. The upgradation has not happened overnight. It was due to our strong belief that it is the right thing to do, that we kept on making improvements which have now culminated in the yard’s approval. We believe – and hope – that the Norwegian statement has been understood out of context.”