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EU should 'think carefully' about beaching ban for scrapping, says GMS

Cash buyer GMS says the European Commission to “think carefully” about its decision to ban European ships from being beached for scrapping.

GMS highlighted the lack of choices for scrapping without beaching, limited to Turkey and China, where there is limited capacity and 40-60% less demand for scrap steel.

The group argued that the decision would jeopardise trends in South Asia to improve scrapping standards, discourage India’s ratification of the Hong Kong Convention, and encourage an exodus of vessels from EU flags to states without a beaching ban.

In a statement GMS added that “for the European Commission to base its decision on beaching on secondary data (instead of primary investigation) is illogical. There is no reasonable justification for the European Commission to punish its own members without thorough analysis… for these reasons GMS urges the Commission to see for themselves the improvements that have been made by some of the shipyards in Alang and is happy to extend an open invitation to officials from the Commission, and to officials from EU member states responsible for ship recycling.”

GMS also highlighted recent comments by the Danish Shipowners’ Association, which saw “workers wearing safety equipment and undergoing six-monthly routine medical check-ups” and “noted that the shipyards were engaged in operations such as asbestos handling, and regularly compiled reports from water and soil pollution tests. Finally, we were able to personally observe that three of the shipyards had laid a concrete base beneath the beach to stop seepage of harmful substances,” the DSA had observed.

Anil Sharma, GMS ceo, said: “The last visit by officials from the EU was back in 2009 and much has changed for the better since then. It would be a travesty of justice now that yard owners in Alang are making huge improvements to working conditions for the EU to make a decision without seeing for themselves the positive changes made in the region. GMS would be happy to organise such a visit.”

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