Writ Petition (C) No. 657 of 1995 (With SLP ) No. 16175/1997, C.A.
No.7660/1997 & Suo Motu Con.Petition 155/2005)
1.By order dated 17.2.2006 in the
present W.P.(C) No.657/1995 this Court passed the following order:
"It is brought to our notice that
the ship Clemenceau has been directed to be taken back to France.
Therefore, immediate controversy relating to Clemenceau ship seems to be
over. But the problem is a recurring one. First and foremost requirement
as of today is to find out the infrastructural stability and adequacy of
the ship breaking yard at Alang. It has to be found out whether the same
are operational/operating in a way that environmental hazards and
pollution are avoided and/or equipped to meet the requirements in that
regard. For that purpose, it is necessary to constitute a Committee of
technical experts who can, after obtaining views and inviting
suggestions from those who would like to give them to find out whether
the infrastructure as existing at Alang presently is adequate. If
according to the Committee, it is not adequate it shall indicate the
deficiencies, and shall also suggest remedial measures to upgrade the
infrastructural facilities. For this purpose, Union of India shall, as
early as practicable, constitute a Committee of technical experts, some
of them having Navy background, preferably retired officers, The
Committee shall submit its report to this Court within eight weeks. The
expenses of the Committee shall be met by the Ministry of Environment
and Forests. Since at various points of time various guidelines have
been indicated, it would be appropriate if they are properly codified to
be followed scrupulously by all concerned including the Government
authorities. The matter is adjourned by ten weeks"
2. Subsequently, time for submission
of report was extended from time to time. It appears that in compliance
with the aforesaid order the Ministry of Environment and Forests after
getting views of the concerned ministries and organizations constituted
a Committee for recommending on issues relating to Ship Breaking. In
terms of order of the Ministry dated 24.3.2006 the Committee was headed
by the then Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests and comprised
of experts from reputed organizations like National Institute of
Occupational Health (NIOH), Ahmedabad, Indian Toxicological Research
Centre (ITRC), Lucknow, retired Naval Officers, Academicians from Indian
Institutes of Technology (IITs) of Kharagpur and Chennai and Central
Pollution Control Board (CPCB). The Committee after examining various
materials and details has submitted its report. During its various
sittings, agencies and individuals were called for discussions.
included the Gujarat Maritime Board (in short 'GMB'), Department of
Ports, Govt. of Gujarat, representatives of Alang-Sosiya Ship Breakers'
Association (in short 'ASSBA Breakers'), Gujarat Pollution Control Board
(in short 'GPCB'), Department of Customs, Alang, Directorate of
Industrial Safety and Health (in short 'DISH' of Govt. of Gujarat),
Representatives of Workers at Alang Sosiya Yard, Assistant Labour
Commissioner, Gujarat Enviro Protection and Infrastructure Ltd. (in
short 'GEPIL'), operators of Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility
(in short 'TSDF') at Alang. The Committee as it appears from the reports
has undertaken a very elaborate and detailed study of the problems and
has also suggested valuable norms and solutions. It has focused on the
"Hazards Associated with Ship Breaking" under this broad head. Reference
has been made to hazards in ship breaking industry, occupational and
health issues, primary preparation and breaking, occupational health
hazards associated with different stages of ships, secondary breaking
and sorting and handling of hazardous materials.
It has also focused on ships of
special concern and the assessment of hazardous wastes and potentially
hazardous materials. It has also referred to occupational health and
safety issues at Alang-Sosiya Yard and the asbestos related issues.
Reference has been made to studies conducted by National Institute of
Occupational Health and Workers evaluation of State and the
Demonstration facility for Asbestos Removal. It has categorized the
"ships of special concern" as follows:
3. Table-2.1. Categories of Ships of
Sl.No. Category Nature of Concern
Essential Infrastructure and Precautions Necessary
1. Warships Large quantities of
PCBs, ACMsAdequate infrastructure at the yard to handle the identified
quantities, adequate approved infrastructure of disposal facilities
nearby, adequately trained staff, strict monitoring by SPCB/SMB
Large Passenger LinersLarge quantities of PCBs, ACMsAdequate
infrastructure at the yard to handle the identified quantities, adequate
approved infrastructure of disposal facilities nearby, adequately
trained staff, strict monitoring by SPCB/SMB
3. Nuclear Powered Ships Residual
Radiation Level Monitoring by AERB/Health Physics Department of BARC of
residual radiation level and if found higher than the permissible limits
to recommend measures for decontamination. Reactors, cores and all
radioactive wastes to be removed by owner before last voyage for
4. Deep Draft Ships requiring to be
beached at 1.5 K.M. or more from the shore base line Distance from the
Beach during beaching Extra precautions in transferring hazardous
materials or materials containing hazardous substances to avoid spillage
into the sea.
5. IMDG Hazardous Residues in Cargo
Tanks Adequate infrastructure at the yard to handle the identified
quantities, adequate approved infrastructure of disposal facilities
nearby, adequately trained staff, strict monitoring by SPCB/SMB
FPSO/Offshore Platforms Beaching difficulties Extra precautions in
transferring hazardous materials or materials containing hazardous
substances to avoid spillage into the sea.
4. The recommended process for
anchoring, beaching and breaking needs to be quoted:
"3. Upon entry into the Port area, a ship is allowed to be anchored by
dropping one or more anchors to the seabed. This prevents drifting of
the ship, tethers it to one spot, and enables boarding from boats. A
ship at anchor may lift its anchors, and sail away. Anchoring of ships
is thus fully reversible.
Beaching refers to running aground
on the beach a ship meant for breaking by the beaching method. This ship
is sailed into the beach under its own power or is towed by barges. A
beached ship is rendered immobile, and cannot usually be refloated.
Beaching is thus irreversible.
"Ship Breaking" is the process of
dismantling a vessel's structure for scrapping or disposal whether
conducted at a beach, pier, dry dock or dismantling slip. It includes a
wide range of activities, from removing all gear and equipment to
cutting down and recycling the ship's infrastructure.
It may be mentioned that a ship at
anchor, or while otherwise afloat, requires to be fully manned, with at
least generators running. These involve significant costs. There is
little possibility of hazardous materials embedded in the ship's
equipment or structure being released to the environment, till the stage
of ship breaking. Accordingly, the Committee considered that it is not
necessary to require ships to remain outside Port limits, or outside the
territorial waters, or the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), pending
decision on its being permitted to anchor, or beach.
3.1. Recommended Process for
The ship owner or recycler should submit the following documents well in
advance of the arrival of the ship for recycling for a desk review by
the SMB in consultation with SPCB and Customs Department:
a) Name of the Ship
b) IMO Identification No.
d) Call Sign
e) Name of the Master of the Ship and his nationality
f) List of the crew
g) GRT/NRT/LDT of the ship with supporting documents
h) Assessment of hazardous wastes/hazardous substances:
In the structure of the ship, and on board as far as practicable by
reference to the ship's, drawings, technical specifications, ship's
stores, manifest, in consultation with the ship builder, equipment
manufacturers and others as appropriate. In the case of ships of special
concern, in addition to identification and marking of all areas
containing hazardous wastes/hazardous substances, quantification of such
wastes/substances would also be necessary.
After desk review by SMB/SPCB/Customs,
a decision will be taken regarding permission for anchorage of the
ships. In case, permission is refused by any one of these three
agencies, the ship owner would be entitled to both a review and appeal.
SMB and Customs Dept. would separately notify the procedure therefor
along with the time frames and consequences of not adhering to the time
frames. In the case of SPCB, while review would be done by an
appropriate authority of the SPCB itself, the appeal would lie with the
CPCB since there are no specific legal provisions governing this. Once a
decision is taken to accord permission for anchorage, instructions for
safe anchorage would be issued by the SMB.
3.2 Recommended Process for
For obtaining beaching permission, the recycler has to submit documents
as per Annexure - I of the GMB notification dated 05th July 2003. At
anchorage, the ship would be boarded by representatives of Customs
Dept./ SPCB/ Explosives Dept/AERB to verify the submissions/data
provided for desk review. If considered necessary, an adequate and
representative sample may be used for the verification. For oil tankers,
Gas Free and Fit for Hot Working certificate should also be submitted in
respect of oil cargo tanks and slop tanks.
After verification, beaching
permission will be given by SMB based on clearance granted by all the
above/concerned departments/agencies. Again in the event of refusal to
grant permission for beaching the ship owner shall be entitled to a
review and appeal on the lines of provisions governing anchorage.
Thereafter, the recycler pays customs duty and takes charge of the ship.
3.3 Recommended Process for
The ship recycling plan is an important document. It has two components
i.e. Ship Specific Dismantling Plan, and Recycling Facility's Management
Plan. To obtain permission for recycling, the recycler is currently
required to submit application in Form 2 of GMB's notification dated
05th July 2003 along with the documents specified therein. In addition,
the ship recycler should also submit a Dismantling Plan and a copy of
the Recycling Facility's Management Plan, along with approval of SPCB
3.3.1. Recycling Facility Management
Before granting authorization to the recycling facilities, the SPCB
should ensure that the Plan has been adopted by the Board, or the
appropriate governing body of the company, and should include:
(a) A policy with focus on adequate
worker safety and the protection of human health and environment the
establishment of goals leading to the minimization, and ultimately
elimination of the adverse effects on human health and the environment
caused by ship recycling.
(b) A system for ensuring the
implementation of the requirements set out in national regulations, the
achievement of goals set out in the policy of the company, and a
commitment to continual improvement of the procedures used in ship
(c) Identification of roles and
responsibilities of supervisors, contractors, and workers.
(d) A programme for appropriate
training of workers and availability of adequate PPEs and material
(e) An emergency preparedness and response plan for the plot.
(f) A system for monitoring the performance of the ship recycling
(g) A system for reporting how, the ship recycling operations would be
performed, including system for reporting discharges, emissions, and
accidents causing damage or potential to cause damage to workers'
safety, human health and the environment, due to handling of hazardous
wastes, and materials containing hazardous substances.
3.3.2. Ship Specific Dismantling Plan:
Before starting the recycling process, the recycler should submit a
Dismantling Plan to the authorities, which should include:
a) Details about the ship, and in particular, a fair assessment of
hazardous wastes/hazardous materials.
b) Ship breaking schedules with sequence of work.
c) Operational work procedures.
d) Availability of material handling equipment and PPEs.
e) Plan for removal of oil and cleaning of tanks.
f) Hazardous waste handling and disposal plan.
g) "Gas-free and fit for hot work" certificate issued by the Department
of Explosives, or any competent agency authorized by the Department of
h) Identification and marking of all non-breathable spaces by the
i) Identification and marking of all places containing/likely to contain
hazardous substances/hazardous wastes.
j) Confirmation to the effect that ballast water has been exchanged in
the high seas The tasks should address all the three phases of
(i) Preparation phase
(ii) Dismantling phase
iii) Waste stream management.
k) Asbestos being a major area of concern, the scheme for removing
asbestos, and asbestos containing materials (ACMs) on board, and on
shore, should be specifically provided. The plan should include
arrangements for handling treatment and disposal Locations having
asbestos/ACMs should be marked before commencing dismantling operations.
l) Systems and procedures to be followed to document and keep track of
all hazardous waste generated during recycling, as well as hazardous
substances found on board the ship, and their transport to the disposal
facility or registered recycling facility should be provided."
5. It has also suggested sequence of steps/process for grant of
clearance by SMB/SPCB/Customs Department for ships destined for
dismantling at Ship Breaking Yards. The same reads as follows:
(i) The removal of asbestos dust and fibres and its handling should be
done in a wet condition.(ii) On shore removal of asbestos should be done
in enclosures maintained under negative pressure, with filters for
outgoing air and wastewater. The applicable BIS specifications should be
adhered to in respect of such enclosures.
(iii) For ships of "Special
Concern", where asbestos/ACMs quantities are the Special Concern,
asbestos/ACMs removal on board should be done in enclosures maintained
under negative pressure with arrangements for filtration of outgoing air
and wastewater. For other ships, the practice of wet removal of asbestos
on board may be adequate with the use of appropriate PPEs.
(iv) The asbestos and broken pieces
of ACM's sheets/panels thus removed should be packed in leak proof
synthetic packets and disposed of at secured landfills where the packets
should be solidified by mixing with cement. Recovered and usable ACMs
sheets/panels may be sold for reuse as permitted by law. (v) PPEs like
masks under positive pressure (or masks or respirators meeting BIS
specifications for asbestos handling) should be provided to all the
workers engaged in asbestos removal.
(vi) Asbestos fiber concentrations
should be monitored regularly.
6. The report contains recommendations on management of occupational
safety and health issues and handling of hazardous materials and
hazardous wastes. The report also identifies the stake holders. It is
pointed out that the agencies responsible for ensuring compliance with
the regulations in Gujarat are GMB, DISH, Govt. of Gujarat, GPCB,
Customs and the Petroleum Safety Organisation. Reference has also been
made to Workers Welfare issues. Summary of the recommendations has been
categorised into four categories i.e. immediate, short term, medium term
and long term.
7. We have heard learned counsel for the parties at length. There is
unanimity that the report is a comprehensive one. Certain suggestions
have been given by Mr. Parekh to the effect that there should be
additional precaution for de-contamination. It is suggested that before
leaving port in a foreign country a certificate that it is totally
de-contaminated should be obtained. We find many practical difficulties
in accepting this suggestion. In fact the decontamination aspect has
been taken care of in the report. The authorities in India can without
the certificate at the stage of anchorage verify and come to a
conclusion that if the ship is contaminated same is to be sent back.
8. In Research Foundation for Science Technology National Resource
Policy v. Union of India and Anr. (2005 (10) SCC 510) while dealing with
the aspect of ship breaking. It was noted as follows:
We accept the following recommendations of HPC:
"(1) Before a ship arrives at port, it should have proper consent from
the authority concerned or the State Maritime Board, stating that it
does not contain any hazardous waste or radioactive substances. AERB
should be consulted in the matter in appropriate cases.
(2) The ship should be properly decontaminated by the ship owner prior
to the breaking. This should be ensured by SPCBs.
(3) Waste generated by the ship-breaking process should be classified
into hazardous and non-hazardous categories, and their quantity should
be made known to the authority concerned or the State Maritime Board.
(4) Disposal of waste material viz, oil, cotton, dead cargo of inorganic
material like hydrated/solidified elements, thermocol pieces, glass
wool, rubber, broken tiles, etc. should be done in a proper manner,
utilising technologies that meet the criteria of an effective
destruction efficiently of 99.9 per cent, with no generation of
persistent organic pollutants, and complete containment of all gaseous,
liquid and solid residues for analysis and, if needed, reprocessing.
Such disposed-of material should be kept at a specified place earmarked
for this purpose. Special care must be taken in the handling of asbestos
wastes, and total quantities of such waste should be made known to the
authorities concerned. The Gujarat Pollution Control Board should
authorise appropriate final disposal of asbestos waste.
(5) The ship-breaking industries
should be given authorization under Rule 5 of the HW Rules, 2003, only
if they have provisions for disposal of the waste in environmentally
sound manner. All authorisations should be renewed only if an industry
has facilities for disposal of waste in environmentally sound manner.
(6) The State Maritime Board should
insist that all quantities of waste oil, sludge and other similar
mineral oils and paint chips are carefully removed from the ship and
taken immediately to areas outside the beach, for safe disposal.
(7) There should be immediate ban of
burning of any material whether hazardous or non-hazardous on the beach.
(8) The State Pollution Control
Board (of Gujarat and other coastal States where this ship-breaking
activity is done) be directed to close all units which are not
authorised under the HW Rules.
(9) That the plots where no
activities are being currently conducted should not be allowed to
commence any fresh ship-breaking activity unless they have necessary
(10) The Gujarat PCBs should ensure
continuous monitoring of ambient air and noise level as per the
standards fixed. The Gujarat PCBs be further directed to install proper
equipment and infrastructure for analysis to enable them to conduct
first-level inspection of hazardous material, radioactive substances
(wherever applicable). AER shall be consulted in such cases.
(11) The Gujarat SPCB will ensure
compliance with the new Gujarat Maritime Board (Prevention of Fire and
Accidents for Safety and Welfare of Workers and Protection of
Environment during Ship breaking Activities) Regulations, 2000, by the
Gujarat Maritime Board and should submit a compliance report to the
Court within one year of the coming into force of the said Regulations.
(12) The notification issued by GMB
in 2001 on gas free for hot work, should be made mandatory and no ship
should be given a beaching permission unless this certificate is shown.
Any explosion irrespective of the possession of certification should be
dealt with sternly and the licence of the plot-holder should be
cancelled and the Explosives Inspector should be prosecuted accordingly
for giving the false certificate.
(13) A complete inventory of hazardous waste on board of ship should be
made mandatory for the shipowner. And no breaking permission should be
granted without such an inventory. This inventory should also be
submitted by GMB to SPCBs concerned to ensure safe disposal of hazardous
and toxic waste.
(14) The Gujarat Maritime Board and
Gujarat SPCB officers should visit sites at regular intervals so that
the plot-owners know that these institutions are serious about
improvement in operational standards. An inter-ministerial Committee
comprising Ministry of Surface Transport, Ministry of Steel, Ministry of
Labour and Ministry of Environment should be constituted with the
involvement of labour and environment organisations and representatives
of the ship-breaking industry.
(15) SPCBs along with the State
Maritime Boards should prepare landfill sites and incinerators as per
CPCB guidelines and only after prior approval of CPCB. This action
should be taken in a time-bound manner. The maximum time allowed should
be one year.
(16) At the international level,
India should participate in international meetings on ship-breaking at
the level of the International Maritime Organisation and the Basel
Convention's Technical Working Group with a clear mandate for the
decontamination of ships of their hazardous substances such as asbestos,
waste oil, gas and PCBs, prior to export to India for breaking.
Participation should include from Central and State level.
(17) The continuation or expansion
of the Alang ship-breaking operations should be permitted subject to
compliance with the above recommendations by the plot-holders.
(18) That the above conditions also
apply to other ship- breaking activities in other coastal States."
9. It is desirable that the
Government of India shall formulate a comprehensive Code incorporating
the recommendations and the same has to be operative until the concerned
Statutes are amended to be in line with the recommendations. Until the
Code comes into play, the recommendations shall be operative by virtue
of this order. Until further orders, the officials of Gujarat Maritime
Board, the concerned State Pollution Control Board, officials of the
Customs Department, National Institute of Occupational Health (in short
'NIOH') and Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (in short 'AERB') shall
oversee the arrangement. The Collector of the district shall be
associated when the actual dismantling takes place. Within three weeks
the Central Government shall notify the particular authorities. The
vetting of the documents to be submitted for the purpose of grant of
permission for ship breaking shall be done by the authorities indicated
10. It is ordered accordingly.
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