Shipbreaking yards warned

The Daily Star October 24, 2012

The Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday summoned the owners of seven ship-breaking yards in Chittagong, seeking explanations as to why they had not fulfilled the conditions mentioned in the Environment Clearance Certificate (ECC).

The owners were served with notices and asked to appear before DoE Director General in Chittagong Monowar Islam on October 25 between 10:00am and 2:00pm, said DoE sources.

The ship-breaking yards are: Sayeed Steel, Shima Steel, Mamun Steel, Al Safa Re-rolling Steel Ltd, KSB Steel Mill, Mahin Enterprise and United Steel Recycling Ltd.

Golam Md Bhuiyan, an acting director of Chittagong DoE, said the seven yards did not comply with 56 out of 62 conditions of the ECC.

The major conditions that have remained unfulfilled include provision of health protection and personal protection equipment for employees, infrastructural development, setting up of lightning absorbing equipment and installation of equipment to discharge and refine liquid waste and proper storage and disposal of substances harmful to the environment.

Mohammad Mahin, owner of Mahin Enterprise, told The Daily Star that he had not been informed about the DoE summons. He claimed that his yard had complied with all the preconditions required by the DoE.

Md Saleh Uddin, owner of Al Safa Re-rolling Steel Ltd and KSB Steel Mill, said he had complied with all the primary conditions and was working to fulfil the secondary ones in phases.

He termed the whole process time-consuming and alleged that the DoE’s inspections and actions against the ship-breaking yards had been hindering progress in fulfilling the conditions.

Hefazatur Rahman, President of Ship-Breakers’ Association, said, “The DoE itself is not fully aware of the 62 conditions, as all those are not possible to comply with.”

He said the installation of heavy lifter, for instance, was not possible because of the lack of dry docks.

DoE Director General Monowar Islam said the DoE had found that the firms were not complying with the ECC instructions.

“This is because the owners do not intend long-term investment in the sector. As a result, the employees are suffering the most since ship-breaking is risky and hazardous for health,” he added.

The DG said the DoE drives would continue in future.

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