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Shipbreaking or Skulduggery?

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  #1  
Old 31st December 2005, 14:20
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Shipbreaking or Skulduggery?

The French after a long legal process have released the aircraft-carrier Clemenceau to be broken up at Alang.
Yesterday evening, French tv showed the appalling conditions of the Alang labour-force, one of the main reasons for legal intervention by pressure groups eg Green Peace.
Following is from local press.
Clemenceau built 1954, disarmed and laid up Toulon 1997.

2003
16 June, sold to Spanish shipbreaker in Gijon.
13 October, Sailed for unknown Spanish destination ostensibly for asbestos removal.
17 October, Changed course and sailed for Turkey.
23 October, French cancelled Spanish contract and halted the ship.
31 October, Greece refused Clemencau access to Greek waters.
15 November, Clemencau returns to Toulon.

2004
22 November, Partial asbestos removal commences in Toulon, with remainder to be completed at Alang.

2005
9 February, Pressure groups insist total asbestos removal in Toulon.
30 December. Under terms of original contract, Clemencau cleared for Alang where remainder of asbestos will be removed, and Clemencau broken up.

In all the ships that have passed through Alang, possibly this is the first time the issue of asbestos removal has come to light.
Without proper anti-asbestos protection, the life expectancy of an Alang labourer, if he/she is lucky, will be a further ten years.
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  #2  
Old 31st December 2005, 17:44
benjidog benjidog is offline
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This is truly shameful.

And the saddest part is that the poor sods that take the thing apart will get a pittance for doing it and some middle man will make a packet out of other people's misery.

There should be international controls over how ships are broken up and they should be policed.

Last edited by benjidog; 31st December 2005 at 18:22..
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  #3  
Old 31st December 2005, 18:13
bobby388 bobby388 is offline  
 
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this is in another post cant mind where its appalling conditions in ALANG are 1 a day dies i think they get £2 a day g/peace are involved there is a canadian docu on it(shipbreakers)i remember now it was Derek rodgers post somewhere cheers (Bobby)
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  #4  
Old 31st December 2005, 18:33
bobby388 bobby388 is offline  
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobby388
this is in another post cant mind where its appalling conditions in ALANG are 1 a day dies i think they get £2 a day g/peace are involved there is a canadian docu on it(shipbreakers)i remember now it was Derek rodgers post somewhere cheers (Bobby)
"SORRY" it was EDWARDS post
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  #5  
Old 6th January 2006, 21:17
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John Feltham John Feltham is offline  
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There are also many ex-Royal Dockyard shipwrights, laggers, painters, engine and electrical fitters, etc. in Britain suffering from exposure to asbestos due to working on warships and auxiliaries. A couple of my colleagues have sadly died recently from this exposure. Today, by chance, I spoke to two other ex-dockyard workers and it turned out that all three of us have thickening of the plura! We are the lucky ones, so far, and may survive to a reasonable age without it developing into full blown cancer. The simple truth is that no one in authority wants to be responsible for the removal of asbestos because of the cost involved! I assume that they think if a contaminated ship is left long enough, people will forget about the contamination and the vessel can be passed without notice onto a third world country with its lethal cargo. In these countries the labour force have no unions to fight for proper equipment, etc. and poverty is such that they will do anything to earn a crust of bread. It certainly is a disgrace!
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  #6  
Old 6th January 2006, 21:24
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The health issues involve the whole ship building and ship repair industry. I remember being on one ship in refit in the 1960's at Devonport and the dockyard mateys were rigged in overalls and respirators while we were working nearby without any protection at all.
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  #7  
Old 6th January 2006, 21:32
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Hi jbryce,
Yes, I can remember arriving home and having to shake out my clothing because the asbestos lagging had penetrated even into my underwear. Fortunately, these nether regions have not been effected!
John
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  #8  
Old 10th January 2006, 21:25
SHANE SHANE is offline  
 
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does anyone know were the ocl big ships went for scrap ? liverpool bay class.
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  #9  
Old 13th January 2006, 13:01
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Egyptian authorities apparently under pressure from Green Peace have blocked Clemencaue from passing through Suez.
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  #10  
Old 13th January 2006, 15:05
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This mass hysteria surrounding the Clemenceau is groundless. Firstly, importing a vessel for recycling is not importing waste, therefore Basel convention rules do not apply. It's simply supply and demand. The Indian Sub continent needs a cheap supply of steel, and scrap metal from redundant ships is one of the most cost effective ways of obtaining this. Alang shipbeakers - and consequently the people employed by them - have just faced their worst year in history with the industry running at about 20% capacity. A ship of the Clemenceau's size will therefore be a welcome relief for all concerned.

Secondly, despite what the likes of Greenpeace, etc state, India has the means to scrap ships safely and responsibly and to deal appropriately with hazardous materials. Infrastructure at Alang has improved considerably and the Gujarat Maritime Board has invested substantially in conducting safe ship recycling training programmes.

The problem is that the voices of ill-informed environmentalists are heard louder than those who really know the industry and these kind of knee-jerk reactions are as predictable as they are frustrating.

Phil

Last edited by Thamesphil; 13th January 2006 at 15:15..
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  #11  
Old 13th January 2006, 15:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R651400
Egyptian authorities apparently under pressure from Green Peace have blocked Clemencaue from passing through Suez.
Ahoy Malcolm,
Do you really think that Greenpeace can put the Egyptians authorities under pressure?No I don't think so; I think it's still an old wound that Greenpeace has with the Frenchies and has never healed, and if they can they will work against them.

Egypt bans French ship from Suez over waste leak

CAIRO - Egypt on Thursday banned a French aircraft carrier from crossing the Suez Canal on its way to India on the grounds that the vessel was leaking toxic waste, a Suez Canal Authority official told Reuters.
The French Defence Ministry said there was no leak coming from the ship and that the Egyptian authorities had not informed them it would be stopped from crossing the international waterway on its way to an Indian shipyard.
"Egypt decided to prevent the French ship from entering the Suez Canal," an official from the Suez Canal Authority said.
A panel appointed by India's Supreme Court has recommended that the vessel not be allowed to enter India because of worries about toxic waste.
"Egypt decided to prevent the French aircraft carrier from nearing Egyptian regional waters because of the presence of a poisonous leak," added the Egyptian official, who did not want to be named.
The official said the authority took the decision after Egypt's environmental agency said the leak from the ship could cause harm to the canal's environment and the Egyptian coastline.
Environmental group Greenpeace has urged Paris and New Delhi not to allow the decommissioned Clemenceau to reach the scrapyard in the western state of Gujarat without first being 98 percent decontaminated in France.
Greenpeace says the 27,000-tonne ship is fitted with hundreds of tonnes of hazardous materials, including 500 tonnes of asbestos, which could pose a severe risk to scrapyard workers.
The environmental group says thousands of workers in the ship-breaking industry in Asian countries have died in the last two decades in accidents or through exposure to toxic waste.
"There is no poisonous leak on the Clemenceau, I can assure you of that," said an official at the French Defence Ministry, adding that Egyptian authorities had asked for technical information that the ministry was preparing.
French authorities have said the most dangerous work of removing 115 tonnes of brittle asbestos has been done in France and the remaining amount has to be kept in place to keep the ship seaworthy on its last journey to India.

Source:Reuters
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  #12  
Old 13th January 2006, 16:55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruud
Ahoy Malcolm,
Do you really think that Greenpeace can put the Egyptians authorities under pressure?
Ahoy Ruud,
My source indicates Egyptian environment agency director Mohamed Sayyed Kahlil met with Green Peace in Cairo on Thursday.
One would assume the decision on Clemencau was taken from this meeting.
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  #13  
Old 13th January 2006, 17:31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thamesphil
Firstly, importing a vessel for recycling is not importing waste, therefore Basel convention rules do not apply.
Importing a contaminated ship containing toxic waste for eventual scrap, not only contravenes the Basel convention but also Indian law.
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  #14  
Old 13th January 2006, 18:08
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R651400
Importing a contaminated ship containing toxic waste for eventual scrap, not only contravenes the Basel convention but also Indian law.
If that truly is the case, there would be no ship recycling in India. So why hasn't the entire Alang shipbreaking industry closed down, wrecking the livliehoods of the thousands of people involved with it? The fact is that a ship is not waste, it is not imported for scrap, it is imported for the vital raw materials that Indian industry needs to survive.

Phil
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  #15  
Old 13th January 2006, 19:13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thamesphil
So why hasn't the entire Alang shipbreaking industry closed down?
Simply? The onus is on the seller not the purchaser to ensure the vessel is decontaminated before arrival in India.
Isn't that what the Basel convention is all about?
Green Peace, possibly prone to exaggeration, quote as many as 350 fatalities a year. Other more conservative sources 40 or 50.
Whichever way you look at it, this doesn't stop the Alang, or wherever, labourer from being blown to bits or poisoned by toxic waste or fumes.
Your putting shipbreaking central to the Indian economy, I wonder how Jamshedpur managed all those years before Alang?
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  #16  
Old 13th January 2006, 21:46
edward edward is offline  
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as my last post on this subject regarding asbestos i think it should be removed by a responsible body that has all the health and safety regulations in place and not to gamble on 3rd world labour being exposed to the aspestos just for profit this is a thouchy subject but has to be delt with caution. regards. edward
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  #17  
Old 13th January 2006, 21:51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thamesphil
This mass hysteria surrounding the Clemenceau is groundless. Firstly, importing a vessel for recycling is not importing waste, therefore Basel convention rules do not apply. It's simply supply and demand. The Indian Sub continent needs a cheap supply of steel, and scrap metal from redundant ships is one of the most cost effective ways of obtaining this. Alang shipbeakers - and consequently the people employed by them - have just faced their worst year in history with the industry running at about 20% capacity. A ship of the Clemenceau's size will therefore be a welcome relief for all concerned.

Secondly, despite what the likes of Greenpeace, etc state, India has the means to scrap ships safely and responsibly and to deal appropriately with hazardous materials. Infrastructure at Alang has improved considerably and the Gujarat Maritime Board has invested substantially in conducting safe ship recycling training programmes.

The problem is that the voices of ill-informed environmentalists are heard louder than those who really know the industry and these kind of knee-jerk reactions are as predictable as they are frustrating.

Phil
Hi Phil,
Welcome back from "Pluto" did you have a nice holiday, get real, would you like your kids to work in these places, I don't think so.
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  #18  
Old 15th January 2006, 22:06
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Originally Posted by william dillon
Hi Phil,
Welcome back from "Pluto" did you have a nice holiday, get real, would you like your kids to work in these places, I don't think so.
Billy,

I assume that you know so much about the shipbreaking industry that you would like to make a well informed comment. So where is it?

Phil
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  #19  
Old 15th January 2006, 22:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R651400
.
Your putting shipbreaking central to the Indian economy, I wonder how Jamshedpur managed all those years before Alang?
No, not central to the economy. But the indian government would be left with a lot of egg on its face if it were to allow shipbreaking to disappear. If workers are dismantling ships safely and responsibly, why should their livliehoods be put at risk?

Phil
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  #20  
Old 16th January 2006, 07:38
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Well Phil, You'll be pleased to hear Clemencau has been given clearance to pass the Suez Canal.
I appreciate your concern in terms of employment for the Indian masses but let's be fair. Alang and other Indian ship breakers are not exactly world-leaders in work safety standards.
Rags for helmets, flip-flops (thongs in oz-speak) or even bare feet and no protective gloves to handle enormous raw cut, razor sharp sheets of steel?
Result, horrific accidents on a daily basis that never reach statistic level.
nb I haven't even touched on poisoning from toxic waste.
You say they have cleaned up their act?
Let's just see what ss Norway is up to.
A local theory, she will be re-registered to a country that is a non Basel signatory, then be broken up at Alang, asbestos et al.
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  #21  
Old 16th January 2006, 07:48
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A little adjoinder to above.
The excuse given for only partial removal of asbestos from Clemenceau was to enable the vessel to operate on it's last voyage to the knackers.
Assuming by that, they meant she would travel under her own steam.
What the decision has to do with being towed there, is another question.
Perhaps to run the entire electrical system for the skeleton crew and Greenpeace passengers to make coffee?

Last edited by R651400; 16th January 2006 at 16:19..
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  #22  
Old 16th January 2006, 12:37
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Sadly, yes, accidents do still occur at Alang, but they have really cleaned up their act. But let's get real here. Much of it is highly exaggerated, all this mass media attention is whipped up by those with a left-wing anti-capitalist political agenda. If you think that's a good thing, fine. But don't forget that the same people have their knives out for the entire shipping industry too.

Phil
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  #23  
Old 16th January 2006, 14:49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thamesphil
Much of it is highly exaggerated, all this mass media attention is whipped up by those with a left-wing anti-capitalist political agenda.
Phil
I think it is too easy to generalise. In other topical threads I have hammered away at poor UK management.
As far as India is concerned I think there is a penchant for national exploitation possibly stemming all the way back to the caste system, who knows.
This shouldn't detract from their ever-willingness to work and earn a crust at all costs.
Malcolm
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Old 16th January 2006, 15:56
lakercapt lakercapt is offline  
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There was a documentary on TV recently about thge shipbreaking in India and when the cameras were there it would appear that there were safety precautions in place. Later a camera was smuggled in and there was differant prospective.
Alas this film was because there were a few old Great Lake freighters going out there to be broken up. The shipowers pronounced that they were coforming to all the rules and regulations about hazardus materials. However what they did not mention at the time was they were reflagged to some obscure country and were no longer covered by Canadian law. The company , a well known Lakes company called Upper Lakes Shipping.
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  #25  
Old 16th January 2006, 17:32
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Like it or not, the shipowner is probably right to claim that they did nothing wrong. it is a long-standing tradition that Indian Sub continent breakers will not deal directly with owners. Ships are sold through unrelated cash intermediaries for onward resale to the breakers. It is these companies that have ultimate responsibility for the safe and proper arrival of the ship and for renaming and reflagging ships to 'obscure countries' There have also been cases where ships have been sold several times through various cash buyers whilst en-route to Alang. Whatever the rights and wrongs, this is why any legal and regulatory processes become extremely complex and difficult.
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