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SHIP RECYCLING ARTICLE  
The history of deep-sea vessel recycling over the past 25 years can be divided into phases of evolving approaches to addressing risks associated with ship breaking. In the early 1980s, ship breaking shifted its geographic center of operations from the west, to countries such as Korea, and then to India and Bangladesh, effectively allowing sellers and ship breakers to avoid financial exposure for OEH risks. This phase persisted relatively undisturbed through the late 1990s.
The economics of the deep-sea vessel recycling model in place for sellers, ship breakers, distributors, and final consumers assumes the absence of OEH standards of the kind imposed within the developed world. The current economic model is quite vibrant, shifting rapidly according to changing market forces. However, a widespread reform effort has been trying, for close to ten years and with increasing momentum, to make participating businesses more legally liable and pertinent regulators more empowered and motivated to enforce developed world standards.
Further, it is difficult for a developing-world nation to increase significantly its OEH standards for a particular, migrant-staffed industry, ship recycling, while the OEH profile for the rest of its society remains troubled. For instance, the fragile workers’ compensation systems of developing countries cannot be expected to work well for ship breaking workers and not for others.
The international treaty was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations. Under the treaty, a country must not allow the export of a ship containing hazardous materials if it suspects that the waste will not be properly dealt with by the ship-breaking country.
ABOUT ALANG
The French government has sent its decommissioned aircraft carrier Clemenceau to the ship-breaking yards of Alang, Gujarat, and that has kicked up a controversy. The dispute, centred on the quantity of hazardous asbestos the ship contains, has taken the focus off the real issue.
The point is whether ship-breaking should be a legitimate economic activity or not. The truth lies beyond the inflexible positions of both the ship-breaking industry and eco-fundamentalists. Ships that have outlived their utility must be dismantled, no questions on that. But that cannot be done in brazen disregard of occupational safety norms.
Ship breaking makes perfect commercial sense for India. It's labour-intensive, and is, therefore, bound to thrive in developing countries. The availability of relatively inexpensive labour here does not, however, mean that the ship-breaking industry can blithely compromise on worker safety.
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