company was severely criticized for its choice of Alang by the environmental
organizations, the company stood its ground saying this was “an opportunity to change the industry for
And the industry has begun to change for the better.
To the charge that the company’s move was merely for cost-cutting,
Maersk answered the accusation saying that it would have been less costly to continue to recycle
a few vessels in China every year, and sell off other ships before the end of
life, or chartering tonnage rather than owning vessels.
“We believe that being on the ground
could help solve this industry-wide problem,” the company said.
past 20 months, the company has sent six vessels to three yards in Alang.
Maersk cited audit results that show that all
the yards it works with are operating in full compliance with its standard, and
are even exceeding it by fully eliminating contact with the intertidal zone
during primary cutting. According to Maersk, this means that they are operating
to at least the same level as when the company recycles vessels in China and
“Finally, we are seeing increased investments in upgrades in many other
yards, and when we sold our second batch of vessels, we saw yards competing on
higher standards and not just on price. We believe these results indicate
that with this approach, all the ship recycling operations in the entire Alang
area could become responsible,” the company said.
situation is far from perfect, especially with relation to the prevailing
health hazards in the ship breaking yards.
“Access to health care – in general, and in emergencies– was confirmed
as the most urgent unmet need. As a first intervention
in this area, we began a project to establish a mobile health van, which will
be able to provide emergency care in case of accidents. Following on from
this initiative, we will be engaging more deeply in the area of health
promotion and the handling of accidents in wider Alang, in partnership with the
Indian Red Cross,” the company added.
plans to continue to invest and work on the ground with selected yards in Alang.
However, for a more sustainable progress to be made more shipowners need to
“We hope other shipowners will join us in transforming the entire Alang
shipbreaking industry by demanding high standards for safety, human rights and
the environment, and by supervising implementation on the ground on a daily
basis. It is about businesses and other partners working together to solve a
complex problem,” Skou