The Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass), an international ship classification society, has underlined that high safety standards will be key to doubling India’s ship recycling capacity by 2024 – an ambitious target set by the Indian Government in the Union Budget 2021-22
IRClass, which has long been a strong supporter and an advocate for sustainable ship recycling, welcomes the Indian Government’s latest initiative on ship recycling. Executive chairman Arun Sharma said “India has the world’s largest ship recycling operations, and it is imperative we have a rigorous process in place to ensure these operations do not pose any unacceptable risks to human health, safety and our environment.”
“IRClass also recognises that using steel from recycled ships provides an alternative means of steel availability and ensures reduced greenhouse gas emissions during steel production,” he said.
With IRClass’ presence and active promotion of higher safety standards in Alang, where IRClass has had an office since 2016, fatalities from shipbreaking incidents saw a significant reduction in the last two to three years.
As of today, 40% of recycling yards in Alang have ISO certifications including ISO 9001:2015, ISO 14001:2015, ISO 30000:2009 and ISO 45000 from IRClass Systems and Solutions (ISSPL), an entity promoted by Indian Register of Shipping.
IRQS (a division of ISSPL) is a certification body accredited by the EU-approved Dutch Accreditation Council Raad voor Accreditatie, and has been instrumental in enhancing the safety of workers and environmental protection by implementing health and safety, environmental quality and ship recycling management systems.
The ISO 30000:2009 standard ensures a ship recycling facility develops and implements procedures to allow for safe and environmentally sound ship recycling operations in accordance with national and international standards.
Mr Sharma said, “So far, the stringent training evaluation process by IRClass together with the collective efforts of all stakeholders has resulted in a 90% reduction in fatal accidents in 2019 when compared with 2018 fatal accident statistics. We are proud to see this trend continue into 2020 when zero fatal accidents were recorded in Alang.”
The Hong Kong Convention has been a game-changer for Indian yards and IRClass is proud to issue the statement of compliance to over a dozen ship recycling yards in Alang after thorough verification.
In addition, IRClass was the first classification society to be identified as an Independent Verifier and the first to initiate training programmes at Alang to raise the awareness of the workers and supervisors about the risks involved in the ship recycling industry.
In October 2018, the government of India recognised IRClass as the sole evaluators of 12-day mandatory training courses being conducted by the Gujarat Maritime Board for workers in Alang to ensure only eligible workers can join the industry. IRClass has also conducted more than 25 ’Train-the-Trainer’ programmes for safety professionals in Alang together with shipowners between 2018 and 2019.
Mr Sharma continued, “India’s share of the ship recycling business is around 30%, but with ratification of the international convention, we are undoubtably on track to capture a significant share of the global ship recycling market.”
“IRClass, with its presence in Bangladesh and Turkey, will continue to intensify its efforts to make the ship recycling industry greener and safer for the environment and its people,” he said.
How shipowners dispose of end-of-life ships is likely to come under scrutiny from banks and investors as part of the assessment under environmental, social and governance. Sign up here for Maritime Environmental, Social and Governance Webinar Week.