Having helped shape the green image of Chinese ship recycling, Maersk is now looking to transform Alang, home to the world’s most concentrated area of shipbreakers.
“The Maersk Group is determined to use its leverage to create more responsible recycling options and is thus announcing a commitment to help selected ship recycling yards in Alang to upgrade facilities and practices to comply with the company’s standards,” Maersk said in a statement yesterday.
The market for ship recycling is dominated by practices unchanged for decades, Maersk noted. Out of the total 768 ships recycled globally in 2015, 469 – representing 74% of the total gross tonnage scrapped – were sold to facilities on beaches in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh with challenges to workers and the environment, the company added.
The company reckons only yards in China and Turkey meet the Danish firm’s exacting recycling standards – by choosing these places the company is losing up to $2m a ship.
Four yards in Alang are now certified to the standards of the International Maritime Organization and Hong Kong Convention, a big advance in the last couple of years.
“[R]esponsible recycling can be accelerated in the area, if the engagement is made now,” Maersk said.
“We want to play a role in ensuring that responsible recycling becomes a reality in Alang, India. To find sustainable solutions, we are working on building a broader coalition with other ship owners and have initiated engagement with a number of carefully selected yards in Alang. This includes improving local waste facilities and hospitals – and upgrading the housing conditions for the migrant workers in Alang,” said the head of sustainability at Maersk, Annette Stube.
When Maersk took over P&O Nedlloyd in 2005 it continued the Anglo-Dutch line’s pioneering efforts to support and develop green ship recycling in China, a practice that has paid off with China viewed as the place to go today for environmentally conscious shipowners keen to offload ships properly.