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COMMENT OF TOXICSWATCH ALLIANCE (TWA) ON “CHANGES PROPOSED IN THE SHIP BREAKING CODE 2013

Written By Gopal Krishna on Wednesday, November 04, 2015 | 12:17 AM

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)

To

Shri P.K. Sharma
Under Secretary
Union Ministry of Shipping
Transport Bhawan
1, Parliament Street
New Delhi-110001  

Subject- COMMENT OF TOXICSWATCH ALLIANCE (TWA) ON “CHANGES PROPOSED IN THE SHIP BREAKING CODE 2013”

Sir,

This is with reference to public notice dated September 11, 2015 inviting comments on the “changes proposed in the ship breaking code 2013”.
On behalf of ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), our comments are as under:  
Title 1 (1)- The name Ship Breaking Code 2013 should remain intact because all the existing national international and relevant UN laws like Basel Convention refer to dismantling of end-of-life ship as ‘ship breaking’. It does not appear to be numbered properly.
 Title 2 (i)- The existing provision should remain as it is because both AERB and AEC are under Department of Atomic Energy.
 Title 2 (ii)- The proposed clause is appropriate. It should be incorporated in the Code.
 Title 2 (iii) (a)- The proposed clause is appropriate. It should be incorporated in the Code.
 Title 2 (ix) (a)- The proposed clause is appropriate. It should be incorporated in the Code.  
 Title 2.2 - The existing provision is appropriate. It should not be changed.
 Title 3.2.1 - The proposed clause is appropriate. It should be incorporated in the Code.
 Title 3.2.2- The existing provision is appropriate. It should not be changed.
 Title 3.2.2 (i)- The existing provision is appropriate. It should not be changed.
 Title 3.2.2 (i) (d)- The existing provision is appropriate. It should not be changed.  
 Title 3.3.2 (i) (h)- The existing provision is appropriate. It should not be changed.  
 Title 3.3.2 (i) (j)- The existing provision is appropriate. It should not be changed.  
 Title 3.3.2 (i) (k)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change about requirement for IMO No. should be added as an additional requirement.
 Title 3.3.2 (i) (m)- The existing provision is appropriate. It should not be changed.
 Title 3.3.2 (i) (o)- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated. 
 Title 3.3.2 (m)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should be added as an additional requirement.
 Title 3.3.2 (p)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should be added as an additional requirement.
 Title 3.3.2 (q)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should be added as an additional requirement.
 Title 3.3.2 (r)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should be added as an additional requirement.
 Title 3.3.3- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should be added as an additional requirement.
 Title 3.4.2 - The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should be added as an additional requirement.
 Title 3.5.2 (ii) (a)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should not be accepted under any situation keeping national security and maritime security in mind.
 Title 3.5.2 (ii) (b)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should not be accepted under any situation keeping national security and maritime security in mind.
 Title 3.5.2 (ii) (c)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should not be accepted under any situation keeping national security and maritime security in mind.
 Title 3.6.1- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should not be accepted under any situation keeping national security and maritime security in mind.
 Title 3.6.1 (c)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should not be accepted under any situation keeping national security and maritime security in mind.
 Title 3.6.1 (j)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should not be accepted.
 Title 4.1.2- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should not be accepted.
 Title 4.1.2 (iv)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should not be accepted.
 Title 4.1.2 (v)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change should not be accepted keeping national security and maritime security in mind.
 Title 4.1.2 (vi)- The existing provision is appropriate. The proposed change may be incorporated as well.
 Title 4.1.2 (vii)- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 4.2.2 (a)- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 4.2.2 (b)- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should not be deleted.
 Title 4.2.2 (c)- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should not be altered.
 Title 4.2.2 (f)- The proposed provision is inappropriate. It should not be incorporated.
 Title 4.2.8- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 4.3.1- The existing provision is appropriate. It should remain intact. The suggested changes may be incorporated additionally.
 Title 4.4.6- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 5.1.1- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 5.3.2 (vi)- The existing provision is appropriate. It should remain intact. It is strange that someone is attempting to shield official who provides false certification or fails to detect false certification. The proponent of such motivated change merit inquiry to ascertain whether he is currently involved in such activities wherein officials happen to provide false certification.
 Title 5.3.2 (viii)- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.1.1 (xii)- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.1.1 (xv)- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.2.2 (ii)- The existing provision is appropriate. It should remain intact.
 Title 6.2.3- The existing provision is appropriate. It should remain intact.
 Title 6.3.2- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.4.1 (x) SI.1 Col.4- The existing provision is appropriate. It should remain intact.
 Title 6.4.1 (x) SI.2 Col.4- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.4.1 (x) SI.3 Col.4- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.4.1 (x) SI.5 Col.3- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.4.1 (x) SI.5 Col.4- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.4.1 (x) SI.9 Col.4- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.4.1 (x) SI.10 Col.4- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.4.1 (x) SI.18 Col.3- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.4.1 (x) SI.18 Col.4- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.4.1 (xii) - The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.4.2- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.4.3- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.5.1- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
 Title 6.5.7- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
Title 6.6.1 (f)- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
Title 6.9 (ii)- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
Title 6.12.4- The existing provision is appropriate. It should remain intact. The proposed changes can be added as an additional measure.
Title 7.16.5- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
Title 8.1.2- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
Title 8.1.2 (a)- The proposed provision is appropriate. It should be incorporated.
Title 8.4.1 (iii)- The existing provision is appropriate. It should remain intact. The proposed changes can be added as an additional measure.
Title 8.4.1 Annexure VI, 7-The existing provision is appropriate. It should remain intact keeping national security in mind. The proposed changes can be added as an additional measure. The details of any radioactive material recovered from the ship after anchoring and beaching might appear to be presenting a case of fait accompli. The penalty and punishment for false declaration by the owner of the ship must be both under civil and criminal law. 
We submit that it is apparent that some of the changes proposed in the ship breaking code 2013 are in violation of the letter and spirit of the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s order UN’s Basel Convention and Hazardous Waste Management Rules under the Environment Protection Act 1986. The ‘stakeholder’ who has proposed some motivated changed must be inquired into to ascertain whether or not it is complying with the existing Code prepared in pursuance of the directions of the Hon’ble Court.
We submit that union shipping ministry's soft corner for IMO's Hong Kong Convention which is unlikely to enter into force is deeply problematic and is contrary to India’s long held position. This is a deceptive Convention meant to cater to the vested interests of ship owning developed countries.
We wish to draw your attention towards non-compliance with the Code, Supreme Court Order and a letter received by Union Ministry of Shipping in the matter of ship breaking from Shri Rajgopal Sharma, Advisor, Indian Embassy, Brussels dated December 22, 2011.
We submit that despite repeated recommendations issues with regard to occupational health of workers, national security linked with environmental security and entry of dead vessels in India waters on fake documents remains unattended.  As a consequence, hundreds of ships have entered Indian water in violation of Supreme Court's order.
We wish to draw your attention towards UN Special Rapporteur's report which reads, "Regulatory authorities in Alang/Sosiya and the shipbreaking industry should step up their efforts to improve health and safety in the yards" because he also states and observes his major concerns as "the health and safety situation prevailing at the shipbreaking yards continues to remain critical, as witnessed by the 12 fatal accidents that occurred in Alang/Sosiya during the course of 2009, and there are a number of identifiable shortcomings which need to be addressed" at page 12 of the report.
The report states, "Health facilities in Alang/Sosiya do not possess sufficient human, technical and financial resources to provide any treatment other than first aid for minor injuries. The nearest hospital equipped to deal with life-threatening conditions is in Bhavnagar, more than 50 kilometres away. The Red Cross hospital in Alang, which the Special Rapporteur visited, can count on only four medical doctors and nine beds to provide health care not only to some 30,000 workers in the yards, but also to the neighbouring villages of Alang (which has a population of about 18,000 people) and Sosiya (4,000 people)" on page 14.
It observes, "In Mumbai the situation is even worse, with no permanent facilities except first aid and ambulance services." It notes, "most workers, but reportedly also a number of yard owners, are not aware of the serious life-threatening work-related diseases which may result from long-term exposure to toxic and hazardous substances and materials present on end-of-life ships. In particular, it appears that the majority of the workforce and the local population do not know the adverse consequences of prolonged exposure to asbestos dusts and fibres and are not familiar with the precautions that need to be taken to handle asbestos-containing materials."

It is true that "The majority of the workforce lives in overcrowded makeshift facilities just outside the yards. Most accommodations lack basic amenities such as kitchens, toilet facilities, electricity and running water. The water and sanitation facilities available in Alang/Sosiya remain grossly inadequate to deal with the consumption, cooking, and personal and domestic hygienic requirements of the 30,000 workers who work and live there. In Mumbai, the situation is even worse, with no safe drinking water available in the yards."
On page 13, he observes, "the vast majority of the workforce in Mumbai do not receive any information on the hazards or risks to health and safety, nor do they receive any training on how to avoid or minimize them. With regard to safety training, the Special Rapporteur is of the view that existing training opportunities in Alang/Sosiya should be improved, considering the magnitude of the risks associated with shipbreaking activities and the hazardous substances workers are potentially exposed to." The report adds, "Due to the informal nature of working arrangements, workers are not covered by social protection schemes, and do not receive any benefit in case of work-related injuries or diseases."
The Special Rapporteur observes, employers do not pay for long-term medical treatment or for expenses linked to chronic work-related illnesses. Workers do not usually receive any wages or benefits when absent from work on medical grounds. UN Special Rapporteur's assessment reads:”…in India ships are dismantled on beaches, a method commonly referred to as “beaching”. This method of ship dismantling fails to comply with generally accepted norms and standards on environmental protection. Although very little work has been carried out to assess its environmental impact, the dismantling of ships on sandy beaches without any containment other than the hull of the ship itself appears to have caused high levels of contamination of soil, air, and marine and freshwater resources in many South Asian countries, and to have adversely affected the livelihood of local communities surrounding the shipbreaking facilities, which often rely on agriculture and fishing for their subsistence" at page 9 of the report.
We submit that UN Special Rapporteur's recommends "an independent study be carried out to assess the actual and potential adverse effects caused by the discharge of hazardous substances and materials into the natural environment. Such a study should also assess the steps that need to be taken for the gradual phasing out of “beaching” in favour of more environmentally friendly methods of shipbreaking" at page 21 of the report.
With regard to Shri Rajgopal Sharma's letter, we submit that European Commission (EC) official in his conversation with Shri Sharma has admitted that currently all trade in dead ships is illegal. The end of life vessels from Europe which constitutes 17 % of world merchant fleet violates Basel Convention, Supreme Court's order and their own EU Waste Shipment Regulation, 2006.  It is clear from the letter that EC wants to legitimize its illegal traffic in end of life vessels by amending its EU Waste Shipment Regulation from April 2012 onwards to order to easily transfer their hazardous wastes laden dead ships like Le Clemenceau to Indian beaches while protecting their own.

We submit that this development ought be looked at in the context of the Free Trade Agreements
(FTAs) with countries like Japan (1078 page long agreement) and EU (under negotiation but currently suspended) who have been promoting hazardous wastes trade along with countries such as US, Germany, and the UK appear to be outwitting UN’ conventions and Supreme Court’s order by indulging in linguistic corruption by referring to hazardous wastes as recyclable material and non-new goods.

We submit that as of now only Basel Convention is applicable to shipbreaking issue. We are aware that Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change has proposed to ban shipbreaking of foreign ships in a recent meeting. This process should be initiated in phases and the in the meanwhile the shipbreaking activity should be gradually shifted from the beach a fragile coastal environment.

In view of the above, we earnestly request you to incorporate remedial measures in the Code at the earliest to safeguard our environmental borders.  

Thanking You
Yours faithfully
Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Mb: 09818089660, 08227816731
E-MAIL:1715krishna@gmail.com


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