Report: Two Workers Killed at HKC-Certified Shipbreaking Yards

Priya Blue shipbreaking yard, center (courtesy Priya Blue)

By The Maritime Executive 09-11-2019 08:16:31

Two shipbreaking workers were killed recently at Indian beaching yards which have applied for recognition under the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, according to NGO Shipbreaking Platform. 

The first fatality, 50-year-old worker Subash Vishwakarma died from blunt trauma on July 29 at the Priya Blue yard in Alang, according to the NGO. Vishwakarma was struck in the head by a falling metal plate and pronounced dead upon arrival at a nearby hospital. 

The second victim, an unnamed worker at the Shree Ram shipbreaking yard, was killed in an explosion during steel cutting on Sept. 3, according to the NGO. Police are investigating the circumstances of the accident. 

"We expect transparency on the causes of these fatalities, and that both the yards and owners of the vessels upon which the accidents occurred are held to account," said Ingvild Jenssen, founder and executive director of NGO Shipbreaking Platform. 

The two yards have been highlighted as leading examples of modernization and improvement under the terms of the Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling (HKC). Both Shree Ram and Priya Blue have received class certification for compliance with the HKC. In 2016, Shree Ram partnered with Maersk on a controversial project to demonstrate the potential for safe and environmentally sound shipbreaking on South Asian tidal flats. Priya Blue claims that it is the largest ship recycling yard in India, and it considers itself a green facility. 

Both yards have recently been inspected by class for possible whitelisting under the EU Ship Recycling Regulation. An EU SRR inspection for Priya Blue determined that the yard could not demonstrate compliance with the regulation's pollution prevention requirements. The heavily-redacted inspection report for Shree Ram found that further improvements in pollution control and safety management would be required to bring the yard into compliance, preferably under the oversight of an independent third party monitor. The two yards have not been admitted to the EU SRR whitelist of approved shipbreaking facilities.