Tomorrow, European ship owners, government representatives of France, Germany and Belgium, and the European Commission will visit the Alang shipbreaking yards. Despite several indications that NGOs, including the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, would be part of the delegation, no NGO was invited to join in the end.
The delegation will also not meet trade union representatives or workers, and will only visit a selection of very few yards. The visit is organised by industry association ECSA (European Community Shipowners’ Association) that represents the interests of European ship owners. It is an attempt by both ship owners and certain yards in India to convince European policy makers that yards in Alang should be approved for the upcoming EU list of accepted ship recycling facilities. However, under the European Ship Recycling Regulation and the recently published technical guidelines on the requirements for ship recycling facilities, it is clear that beaching facilities do not qualify for the EU list.
With regards to tomorrow’s visit, local environmental groups have raised several concerns related to the deplorable working conditions, poor downstream waste management and continued pollution of the coastal waters in Alang.