GMS Backs Danish Stance on Ship Beaching

Workers carry a rope line to fasten a decommissioned ship at the Alang shipyard in Gujarat, India, in this March 27, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files
Workers carry a rope line to fasten a decommissioned ship at the Alang shipyard in Gujarat, India, in this March 27, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Amit Dave/Files

 

GMS, the world’s largest cash buyer of ships for recycling, has come out in support of the Danish Ship Association (DSA) which refuses to ban the practice of beaching following the recent announcement by their Norwegian counterparts.

GMS says it supports DSA’s position that ship recycling choice shouldn’t be based just on geography.

GMS said that a delegation from the DSA recently visited ship yards in Alang, India to see how some yards upgraded their facilities to comply with the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling, and it is important that the market makes a distinction between those yards which use beaching and comply with the Hong Kong convention and those that do not.

The DSA’s position comes after the Norwegian Shipowners Association (NSA) called for a halt to the practice of beaching for end-of-life vessels among its members.

GMS believes that owners who simply decide where to recycle ships based on secondary information and geographical location do a disservice to their stakeholders and the industry.

“Often these decisions are made on perceptions rather than reality; political pressures rather than economic facts; irrational exuberance rather than pragmatic evaluations,” GMS said in press release. “Simply throwing money does not make ship recycling green. On the contrary, it’s likely to reward inefficiencies and ‘fear mongering’.”

To help prove their point, GMS has urged the NSA to visit Alang to see for themselves the improvements that have been made by some of the shipyards there. The invitation echoes GMS’ recent call to the European Commission and top level shipping industry stakeholders to come to India to witness the ship recycling process first-hand before introducing tougher environmental controls that will require owners of EU-registered ships to scrap vessels only at approved facilities in places like China and Turkey.

“(GMS) is happy to extend an open invitation to members from the NSA to visit these yards so they can make their own minds up about beaching at specific yards just as the DSA has done,” GMS said.

“Yet again there is a lot of misinformation in the press regarding beaching and the Hong Kong Convention,” commented Dr Anil Sharma founder and CEO of GMS. “It has been implied in certain trade press articles that the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling bans beaching and this is untrue. Many of the ship yards in Alang have made vast improvements to comply with the Hong Kong Convention so declaring blanket bans on beaching without viewing individual upgraded sites does nothing to encourage other yards in the Asian sub-continent to improve their standards or persuade governments in the region to ratify the Hong Kong Convention. It is also interesting to note that negative stories or negative comments are generally made by people who have either never visited the yards in India or not visited them recently. On the other hand, those who have visited recently have made positive comments such as the DSA and Japanese Shipowners Association.“

In the past two year, more than half of the shipbreaking yards in Alang have closed, threatening the future of a once-bustling industry that employed tens of thousands of locals. According to the Ship Recycling Industries Association India, the number of active yards fell to 50 in 2015 from more than 100 in 2014.