Green Ships

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General Harms

Transport of Toxins


extremely stable and resistant to natural degradation in water, making TBT very toxic to adequate environments (Dodds). an endocrine disrupting chemical causing severe reproductive defects in aquatic organisms (tightly regulated in developed nations) (Dodds). an organotin compound, one of most hazardous in marine environment. Tin is basic substance in TBT (Gipperth). Increase recognition of problems with TBT, several countries in mid 1980’s implemented national legislation with specific intentions of limiting use of TBT (Gipperth). As concentration of TBT in water and sediment remained alarmingly high, mainly from pollution from ships flying non-Japanese flags, Japan actively imposed an international ban on TBT antifouling. (Gipperth). After 1988, state action was unnecessary to prohibit the use of TBT, which most likely accounts for the lack of TBT-specific legislation in the other states. Furthermore, because antifouling paints are generally considered pesticides subject to regulation under a state’s generic pesticide laws, specific legislation banning TBT may be considered redundant in some states (Gipperth). TBT compounds most toxic for Gram-positive bacteria, fish algae, mussels, mollusks and fungi. (Stichnothe). Consumption of contaminated seafood by humans can cause severe skin and mucous membranes irritation (Stichnothe). Most severely contaminated sites were commercial harbours and shipyards. (Evans). The worst contamination was at Anacortes shipyard and at site 1.3 km from it. (Evans). High imposex scores from shores close to Port of Seattle, which has complex shipyards and harbours. (Evans). Chemical and biological measures were at background levels within less than 2 km from shipyard in Anacortes and less than 8km from Port of Seattle. (Evans). TBT is an organotin compound, one of most hazardous in marine environment. Tin is basic substance in TBT (Gipperth). Used on ship hulls to prevent attachment of marine organisms to hulls, “fouling”(Gipperth). Tin, basic substance of TBT, is effective longer periods than copper which was normal additive at the time, but more poisonous and made it possible to postpone the need to repaint. (Gipperth). Though TBT paints more expensive, economic effects and arguments did not stop the quick change. (Gipperth).

Polychlorinated Biphenyl's (PCB)

PCB’s found in electrical components, cables, vent ducts, misc. gaskets, insulation materials, adhesives, paint, and various rubber and plastic components. (Dodds). To protect environment, PCB’s must be properly incinerated or stored in special landfills where they will not leach into groundwater. (Dodds). PCB’s used for high heat resistance, inflammability, chemical stability, and high boiling point. (Dodds). Exposure to PCB’s creates significant risk of developing various cancers, affect immune, reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems. (Dodds). Chemical compositions of PCB’s change following release into environment. Most carciogenic PCB’s tend to build up in flesh of fish and other animals, those who eating contaminated fish face even greater health threat than shipwrecking industry workers. (Dodds).


found in batteries, paints, and components of motors, generators, piping, and cables (Dodds). Health effects of lead exposure in children- learning difficulties, mental retardation, delayed neurological and physical development. Adults- affects nervous system, impairing hearing, vision, and muscle coordination. (Dodds).

Bilge Water

(oily waste)-Accumulation of potentially polluting liquids in lowest part of ships hull (ships bilge). During mothballing or dismantling process, bilge water increases because of accumulated rainwater, cooling water, and containment water and used during ship breaking process. Bilge water contains oil, cargo residues, inorganix salts, arsenic, copper, chromium, lead, and mercury (often spilt into ocean during shipwrecking process). Oil and other wastes threaten overall health and survival or many species and organisms, some of which are endangered. === Asbestos === Asbestos found in ship insulation, asbestos fibers pose serious health risk (cancers and lung diseases) to workers who inhale the fibers. Asbestos only known cause of mesothelioma- cancer of lungs, chest cavity, and abdomen.


Subsequently, occupational safety and health issues emerge—particularly in association with the dismantling of beached ships in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. (Chang). Ship recycling workers in these countries do not wear protective equipment (helmets, masks, goggles, no signs of danger). (Chang). Majority of workers have no training with blowtorches or with hazardous substances involved in ship recycling. (Chang). Toxic fumes released during blowtorch cutting process and afterwards paint and coatins continue to smolder. (Chang). Unfortunately, there is no structured training or protective equipment given to the ship breaking workers, for that reason it is not uncommon for them to suffer from major accidents Major Accidents Alang, India: (Occupational)'. BANGLADESH (Occupational) :According to Greenpeace, the IMO Guidelines are not adequate to protect workers or the environment partly because they do not contain effective mechanisms to monitor or ensure compliance nor do they provide adequate guidance for companies, courts and governments on how they should deal with the export of ships for scrapping in a manner, which is fully consistent with other existing international commitments. (Alam). The ILO (International Labor Guidelines) Guidelines for Asian Countries and Turkey, 2004, identi- fied a list of common hazards in shipbreaking activities that are likely to cause injuries, death, ill health, diseases and incidents among the workers. (Alam). In the ship breaking area of Chittagong 10.94% labour are child (Photo: Reichmann, 2005) (Hossain). In the ship breaking yards a huge number of labour (46.42%) are illiterate and 43.02% labours are educated up to primary level. The huge uneducated labour force has less scope for better professional jobs within and outside the sector. Less accessibility to different opportunities including information for exercising rights, as they have almost no education and information (YPSA, 2005). (Hossain). Woman filters asbestos into powder in workshop outside the shipbreaking yards, Bangladesh (FIDH, 2005) (Hossain)


Bangladesh (Environmental):Despite the elusive size of the industry and its grave effects, there is no specific legal regulatory framework in Bangladesh to monitor this ongoing environmental damage. (Alam). Annexes I, II, IV and V to the MARPOL (Marine Pollution) Convention require the establishment of appropriate waste-reception facilities for the reception of ship-generated waste. (Alam). However, Bangladesh has not ratified the relevant annexes of the MARPOL Convention. (Alam). EU Waste Shipment Regulation: Since the EU is a major exporter of end-of-life ships to substandard “dismantling and recycling” facilities in South Asia, the European legislation concerning this topic is of crucial importance. (Alam)

Ship breaking Regulations

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