What is the immediate future for Gadani and tankers? Over the past few years, whenever a ban on tankers is lifted there seems to be a race for the next tragedy. Can Gadani lift itself out of this mess?
In a dangerous and controversial field, Gadani seems to have claimed top spot for recent tanker incidents, with dozens of deaths reported. And yet some owners and cash buyers still sell ships with crude cargos or oil bunkers into Gadani.
In the November report of environmental NGO Robin Des Bois, alongside the news of the scrapping of Greenpeace’s (ex) flagship Rainbow Warrior in Bangladesh, it was reported that 4 tankers were sold into Gadani, including one ULCC. Low numbers to be sure, but given the moratorium and the uncertainty in Gadani, why are any tankers going there?
We’ve known for years that tragedies are waiting to happen, and legitimate concerns – and simple solutions – have been reported widely in the Maritime press. 1
It seems that on each occasion a ban is imposed, ‘improvements’ are made, and the ban is lifted; only for it to be re-imposed again.
This is appalling.
The facilities, authorities and other experts need to use ships already on Gadani’s beaches to prove basic safety can be provided. We are not endorsing these facilities, but we must be practical.
Gas free for hot work – the headline killer – is not a complicated issue. It is a series of simple procedures, should be understood by everyone, and must be rigorously enforced. There is plenty of guidance and info out there: Get expert help, put procedures and training in place, prove it can be done safely. And then carry it all out, in practice, and under vigilant scrutiny.
Once a yard has demonstrated it can achieve the most basic of operations, they will need expert assistance in order to comply with the full Government requirements; these should include all elements of the IMO Hong Kong Convention, as applied by genuine experts, not local green-washing charlatans. Or indeed, international green-washing charlatans…!
Provide a business plan, part financed by the residual scrapping, part financed by future projections, and scrap the ship in situ. Then, in accordance with the business plan, upgrade (or move) the yard as required, and when acceptable, allow it to bid for new ships.
And do NOT attempt to recycle any ships in the meantime.
This alternative is the correct solution: Declare the yards substandard, contact salvage experts and tow the wrecks off the beaches and to proper facilities – at the owner’s expense. Re-mediate the pollution on the beach, and the surrounding environment.
The above might seem harsh to some readers; Marprof think it is exceptionally lenient. Facilities should not operate unless they can meet minimum standards, and Gadani’s safety record clearly shows they cannot.
You shouldn’t operate unless you can meet minimum standards. Improvement is great, but you must move to meet minimum standards before making profits.
What will Gadani do…?
1 Tradewinds article https://twitter.com/JimHeathMarprof/status/797045822512840704
There is no excuse here for low standards. How do we weigh a life of a worker? I don’t understand why the IMO is silent and not enforcing strict guidelines. If the government authorities of Pakistan can’t then the international community must have some stringent guidelines. Again the situation is so grim that I have to say some .. some guidelines .. unacceptable….Sorry.