Pakistan and Bangladesh are the latest targets of the shipbreaking industry
not only Alang -- the largest shipbreaking yard in the world -- shipbreaking yards in Pakistan and Bangladesh are working on hazardous ships, many of which contain inflamable gases. The norms laid down for the shipbreaking industry prohibits work on gas-free ships. A ship has to be gas-free before any cutting operations can begin. If a ship is not gas-free, it can explode and put to stake the lives of the workers. According to a shipbreaker at Alang, both countries are allowing beaching of such ships. He added that lax environmental legislation in these countries make the conditions of the workers even worse than those in India.
Companies such as Al Burbank Ship Brokers Limited in Bangladesh consider a ship gas-free if it is "safe for a person's entry". In Pakistan, it is not very difficult to sell a tanker which is not gas-free. Worse, the shipbreakers do not invest to make the ships gas-free. In recent times, hazardous ships entering these South Asian countries have grown alarmingly. The West has shifted its focus on South Asian countries for breaking hazardous ships, where environmental norms are not strict.
A report published in The Baltimore Sunusa, suggests that developed countries like the us are eyeing at India, Pakistan and Bangladesh for exporting obsolete ships. The developed countries, due to stiff resistance from environmental groups in their own countries, are finding it difficult to scrap these ships.
V A Pandey, port officer at the Alang Shipbreaking Yard, says that the countries in the West implicate India of receiving hazardous ships. "We don't allow any ship if it carries hazardous waste. Nobody talks about the working condition of labourers in Pakistan and Bangladesh," he says. He says that three vessels -- Bisatun 1, Aledia Pearl and T M Regular -- were refused entry at Alang as they were not gas-free. Later, these ships found their way in the shipbreaking yards of Pakistan.
A spokesperson of the Himanshu Shah of Apollo Vikas Steels Ltd at Alang, claims that shipbreakers in India invest a large amount for making the ships gas-free before beaching at Alang. "It is a direct loss to shipbreakers. Labourers in India live in far better conditions than those in Bangladesh, Pakistan and China. Still, countries such as the us are unnecessarily targeting labour problems at Alang," he says.
|Ships which mean trouble
Ship from developed nations flood developing countries
|Name of the ship||Country of origin||Weight in tonnes||Date of arrival|
|T M Regular||Japan||35,004||October 1997|
|Liotina||West Germany||41,522||June 1997|
|New Brooklyn||USA||34,844||February 1997|
|Zavely Ilyicha||Polland||7,105||January 1997|
|Srabros 1||Italy||18,928||June 1997|
|Eastern Lion||Japan||36,507||February 1997|
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