Alang Ship Breaking Yard, located in the Bhavnagar district of Gujarat is considered to be the largest ship-breaking yard in the world. The story of its inception is even more interesting than the work it is doing today.
Every ship, used for transportation of goods or for the cruise is an extremely valuable object, and even after long years of services, they hold tons of value within. Internationally, Ship Breaking as an industry was getting into action immediately after World War II as it left hundreds of warships and cargo ships that need to be scrapped. These ships when scrapped produce millions of tonnes of high-quality steels, different types of machinery and other communication objects which can be utilized by other industries at ease. After World War II, most of the ships used in the war were scrapped and the steel was used for the industrial revolution. The shipbuilding industry started moving from the Western part of the world to the Eastern. Taiwan was the early choice for both ship-building and breaking. However, there was a huge accidental explosion in Taiwan’s major ship-breaking yard that took place which cost many lives and even injured more. This results in large public outcry and political movement which demands immediate stop of ship breaking industry. During the same timeline, Alang at Gujarat which was located on the coastline of the Gulf of Cambay on the western coast of India benefited from Taiwan’s movement. Alang Yard has experienced initial growth due to it. The first ship that reached Alang for scrapping was MV KOTA TENJONG in February 1983. Since then the ship-breaking yard of Alang has experienced exceptional growth and now its become the world’s largest ship-breaking yard, a proud jewel of Gujarat’s Industrial Growth. Not only for ship-breaking, Alang is also a place for recycling large scale of ships, used both as cargo and cruise. And today not only in India, but internationally Alang dominates the ship-breaking industry not only by volume but through value as well.
Advantage of Alang Ship Breaking Yard:
- Alang has a high inter-tidal gradient with an almost flat surface at the shore, which means a ship can be park with ease at the shore during the high tide time and even when the tide recedes; the ship can stand on almost dry dock.
- The shore of the Alang Yard is full of stones and hard clay and less of sea sand, which helps heavy metal articles not to sink or stick in the mud.
- The weather of Alang, Bhavnagar is not so humid and helps the ship breaking activity throughout the year.
- There is a fewer amount of high-velocity winds throughout the year.
- Due to the flat surface large ship can come closest to the shore for recycling and scrapping activity, which helps reducing working time and transportation costs.
- Friendly and supportive policy from the State and Central Government.
- Large availability of skilled manpower.
- Well-connected location of Bhavnagar through the air, train and road infrastructure.
This reason proves why Alang Ship Breaking Yard is the largest and most preferred Ship Breaking Yard in the World. Also Bhavnagar City is one of the leading industrial conglomerate for various recycling of plastics and metal material in the state of Gujarat.
On average, Alang scrapped around 400 to 500 ships per year, counting all small to large size ships. Which is a direct source of income for more than 60,000 workers and lakhs of other people if we count indirect sources like metal re-rolling mills, scrap trading, oxygen gas plant, industrial re-sellers, transportation, shop owners, real estate agents and more. Average 4 million tonnes of steel and other metals recycled from the ship-breaking every year and which plays large role keeping mother earth green and pollution-free. Also, it reduces the burden of the conventional steel production industry which mines steel from the earth. The quality of the steel received from the shipbreaking is of high quality compared to the freshly produced from the plant. Also it saves cost and time for the industry as most of the iron ore producing industries are in the eastern part of the country while the demand of steel is very huge in western states, Alang’s Ship Breaking industry helps to meet these demands with ease.
Overall ship breaking includes a wide range of activities starting from scrapping large scale of steel plates, removing all types of residual fuels and oil lubricants used into power turbines of the ships, removing other pollutant materials which generally did not dispose of into the see, removing turbines, power generators, gears and other electrical and electronics instruments, and cutting down the overall structure of the ship. Shipbreaking activity at Alang is a challenging process, consisting of many environmental concerns and health – safety related issues for the manpower engaged in the ship-breaking activity.
Alang Ship Breaking Yard has seen major changeover to the overall process of ship breaking and the concept of “Green Ship Recycling” comes into action after the intervention of The Supreme Court of India focusing the health and safety of the workers. The guidelines were set to meet the international standards set by the IMO – International Maritime Organization. Now the detailed inspection and green signal for each vessel is required from the Customs Department of India, Gujarat Maritime Board – GMB, Gujarat Pollution Control Board – GPCB, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board – AERB and Explosive Department. The core idea behind the “Green Ship Recycling” is to maintain the right balance between Ecology and the Economy of the industry. With the growth of Alang Ship Breaking Yard, the issues related to the maritime environment catch the limelight and it becomes necessary to know whether ship scrapping holds any danger to human health, safety and the environment as well. Alang has also adopted Hong Kong Convention for the same. SRIA – Ship Recycling Industries Association is a very powerful and oldest association working at Alang and takes every single step which is important for worker’s welfare by promoting “Green Ship Recycling”.
When a ship is scrapped, every ounce of metal is collected from it and recycled. Alang Ship Breaking Yard at Bhavnagar scraps and recycles almost half of the ships scrapped worldwide. There are hundreds of shops and outlets on the highway towards the Alang which offers many industrial items like generators, gears, heavy machinery, navigation equipment, oils and other lubricants, machine tools, spare parts, colors and more. Also, there are stores for consumer items like crockery, cosmetics, furniture, carpets, consumer electronics, interior articles, lightings, fabric and textile materials and more.
Overall trade through the Ship Breaking and Ship Recycling industry has gone through its golden period in the last decade, and through the help of pro-industry policy and aids defined by the GMB – Gujarat Maritime Board, there are ample chances that Alang Ship Breaking Yard keeps its momentum alive and achieve new heights every year.
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