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Development of ship-specific recycling plan to improve health safety and environment in ship recycling yards

Hiremath, Anand M., Pandey, Sachin Kumar, Asolekar, Shyam R.
Journal of cleaner production 2016 v.116 pp. 279-298
European Union, case studies, experts, guidelines, inventories, laws and regulations, occupational health and safety, planning, prices, recycling, risk assessment process, ships, steel, sustainable development, wastes, world markets, China, India
The recycling of end-of-life vessels has been identified as a key economic activity for sustainable development. India is the world's leading ship recycling (i.e. breaking, dismantling) country working on the principle of waste to wealth. However, the nature of operations carried out at ship-recycling facilities has raised concerns relating to occupational health, safety and environment (HSE). Though the efforts made by both Hong Kong Convention (HKC) and European Union (EU) legislation on safe and environmentally sound ship recycling are commendable, there exists no standard example or case report showing how to prepare the ship-specific recycling plan (SRP). Also, a clear guidance does not exist on preparation of the “ship-specific recycling plan” required for the three-step risk assessment method (reported in our earlier research).Nearly 80% of the vessels dismantled in Alang ship recycling yards in India include bulk carrier, container and general cargo ships. Therefore, two bulk carrier ships, two general cargo ships and two container ships were tracked (one ship at a time) from beaching to complete recycling in this study and the life cycle of recycling process was investigated in-depth aiming at articulating the so called “ship-specific recycling plan”. At the outset, it was understood that the lateral knowledge of experts involved in risk assessment exercise needs to be complemented with the cause–effect relationships. Therefore, what-if-analysis was employed to articulate the HSE issues associated with the above six ships selected for investigation. In addition, the inventory of hazardous/non-hazardous wastes generated during the course of recycling of six ships under investigation were classified as per the Inventory Guidelines prescribed by International Maritime Organization (IMO).It was observed that bulk carrier, general cargo and container ships were broken in a similar manner. There are certain limitations with respect to the number of workers that could be engaged and size of the ship that could be beached in a given yard for recycling resulting from the physical size of the yard and fluctuations in the price of steel in international market. It was articulated that, on an average, 1.762 ± 0.026 man days would be required to dismantle one LDT of a given ship. The number of man days required for complete recycling of a given type of ship can indeed be used as the most important parameter while developing and planning for recycling of a given ship. The ship-specific recycling plan, what-if-analysis and wastes inventory developed in this research will further strengthen the three-step risk assessment method. Also, it is hoped that the results of this research will play a major role in fulfilling the legal obligations and eventually help in achieving the safe and environmentally sound ship recycling as desired by HKC and newly passed EU legislation.