The shipbreaking sector is gradually reopening for business in South Asia providing owners with an alternative outlet for the growing swathe of idled tonnage around the world.
Strict working restrictions related to the Covid-19 outbreak across India, Pakistan and Bangladesh had seen the demolition market come to near standstill for much of the past six weeks.
Cash buyer Best Oasis reports in Pakistan, standard operating procedures now allow sign off of most foreign crew. Prior to beaching, a minimum 15 days of voyage is required or the vessel will be kept on anchorage in Gadani for a period of 15 days starting from the time it departed from its last port.
In India, standard operating procedures for sign on and sign off of Indian seafarers were issued a month ago strictly subject to vessel’s arrival at an Indian port carrying Indian crew.
Cash buyers and ship recycling associations in India are requesting the ministry of shipping to list standard operating procedures that supports sign off of foreign national crew stranded onboard.
Allied Shipbroking, meanwhile, has reported in Bangladesh, the government has allowed for some scrapyards to proceed with the demolition of units that were awaiting at Chattogram anchorage due to an incoming cyclone.
GMS, the world’s largest cash buyer of ships said in its latest weekly report, that there have been some easing of restrictions in both India and Bangladesh, however, there are still restrictions on vessels arriving in both locations with foreign crew onboard.
“There may be further easing of restrictions in the coming week(s) on international tonnage, however, for now, only those vessels that have received special exemptions and have domestic crew on board are being allowed to beach in India and Bangladesh,” GMS noted.
India is allowing ships with Indian crew to beach whilst anchoring and beaching permissions are not being granted for vessels with international / foreign crew for the time being. The same is true in Turkey as well.
In Bangladesh, foreign crew cannot disembark without getting special permissions from the police and immigration department.
Clarksons noted in its most recent weekly report: “It does appear that more Owners are starting to test the waters by offering more units into the ship recycling arena.”