This group tracks the responses of shipping industry towards environmental health concerns, highlights influence of shipping companies from EU, US and Japan etc on IMO and its Marine Environment Protection Committee & South Asian governments. It is keen to restore beaches in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan to their pristine glory for the coming generations. For more information visit: www.toxicswatch.org, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

13/09/2010

Ship Owners Liability for Enviro-occupational Exposures on Alang Beach & Global Shipping Industry

A Round Table on “Ship Owners Liability for Enviro-occupational Exposures on Alang Beach & Global Shipping Industry” is planned in New Delhi on 15th September.

The Round Table will discuss the developments at the international and national levels besides the acts of omission and commission of ship owners, ship-breakers and the state government. The participants include trade unions, environmental groups, lawyers, researchers and media persons.

Headquartered in London UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) has been working at the behest of the ship owners from developed countries. In order top protect the interest of the ship owners, now it has misled the ship recycling counties to adopt an International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships. It will enter into force 24 months after the date on which 15 States, representing 40 per cent of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, have either signed it without reservation as to ratification, acceptance or approval, or have deposited instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession with the IMO’s Secretary-General. The combined maximum annual ship recycling volume of those States during the preceding 10 years must constitute not less than 3 per cent of their combined merchant shipping tonnage. So far the Convention has been signed, subject to ratification or acceptance, by France, Italy, the Netherlands, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Turkey. Turkey, one of the five major ship recycling nations in the world, has signed this regressive treaty.

At the national level, in pursuance of the Supreme Court order in the matter of Hazardous Wastes/Ship breaking and at the request of Ministry of Environment and Forest, Ministry of Steel had set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Ship breaking under the Chairmanship of Additional Secretary with members of Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF), Ministry of Labour, Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), Central Pollution Control Board, Indian Steel Scrap and Ship breakers Association of India (ISSSAI) etc. for the implementation of Supreme Court Orders and other related functions. The apex court had asked for the inclusion of labour and environmental groups in the committee but the same has not been done till date.

At the last IMC meeting issues such as Radiological study of works, Issue of gas free for hot work and other services under the Petroleum Rules, Security Concerns, Safety of workers, Spillage of Chemicals on Gujarat Shore, completion of trust hospital etc were discussed. For a better understanding of the various issues under consideration of the IMC, chairperson had expressed his desire to lead an Inter-Ministerial delegation to Alang. The IMC team led Bhavnagar/Alang by S. Machendranathan, Additional Secretary & Financial Adviser and Dr Dalip Singh, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Steel is due to visit Bhavnagar/Alang. There will be officials from other ministries as well. The Round Table will take stock of their proposed visit as well.

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