Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Alang - World's Largest Ship-breaking Yard

Alang is a census town in Bhavnagar district in the Indian state of Gujarat, India. It is the leading

centre of the worldwide ship breaking and recycling industry. The facility, located 50 km from Bhavnagar, employs nearly 20,000 people in more than 163 ship-breaking plots. It is known as the graveyard of ships, a place where ageing vessels are torn apart. The shipyards at Alang recycle approximately half of all ships salvaged around the world.

The first vessel – MV KOTA TENJONG was beached at Alang on 13th Feb. 1983. Since then, the yard has witnessed spectacular growth and has emerged as a leading ship Breaking Yard in the world. Tens of thousands of jobs are supported by this activity and millions of tons of steel are recovered.

Current ship-breaking is centered primarily in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and China. One of the attractions to the ship owners of having their vessels dismantled here is that the ship breakers in this part of the world receive little of the regulatory oversight that takes place in Europe or the US.

Large supertankers, car ferries, container ships, and a dwindling number of ocean liners are beached during high tide, and as the tide recedes, about 150-200 workers can break down a 10,000-tonne ship in three months, salvaging nearly every part. About 80 percent of a ship’s steel is reusable steel, cheaper than primary steel and used mostly in construction.

The salvage yards at Alang have generated controversy about working conditions, workers' living conditions, and the impact on the environment. One major problem is that despite many serious work-related injuries, the nearest full service hospital is 50 kilometres away in Bhavnagar. Alang itself is served by a small Red Cross hospital that offers only limited services.

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