The Evolution of Alang: The Largest Ship Recycling Yard in the World

Alang, situated on the western coast of India, has emerged as the world's largest ship recycling destination. In this article, we will explore the history of Alang and the significant improvements that have made it a leading player in the ship recycling industry. Initially, Alang was a small fishing village until the Indian government established a ship-breaking yard in 1983 to tap into its potential. Since then, Alang's ship-breaking yards have grown significantly, employing over 50,000 employees and recycling over 500 ships annually. However, the industry has faced criticism over the years due to concerns about worker safety, environmental pollution, and a lack of proper regulations. But Alang has continued to evolve, and recent developments have brought about significant improvements.

End-to-end impermeable flooring in the backyard of Priya Blue. Photo Source: Priya Blue Industries Pvt. Ltd.

One of the most prominent improvements has been the introduction of environmental and safety regulations. The Indian government passed the "Recycling of Ships Act" in 2019, making it mandatory for ship-recycling yards to obtain environmental clearance and comply with safety norms. Also, in 2019 itself, the Indian government ratified the Hong Kong Convention. Furthermore, Alang has also seen substantial investments in yard's infrastructure upgrading and expansion by the yards themselves in order to meet Hong Kong convention standards. As a part of this effort the government of India and the Gujarat maritime Board has developed a "Green Ship Recycling Code" to ensure that Ship Recycling in the yard meets the standards set by Hong Kong Convention.

During the arrival of the vessel SS BLUE LADY to Priya Blue in 2007, there was a massive legal battle between the NGO, Gujarat Maritime Board, and Priya Blue. During the process, the Supreme Court established standards for recycling vessels. As a result of this, Priya Blue was the first contender to begin the process of Green Recycling, bringing a significant shift to the process of Ship Recycling, and so the story of Alang began into Green Ship Recycling.

The photo taken at Priya Blue Industries Pvt. Ltd. illustrates the reality of modern-day ship recycling at Alang. Photo Source: Priya Blue Industries Pvt. Ltd.

Prior to the ratification of the Hong Kong Convention, In 2015, four leading ship recycling yards were certified by Class NK in Alang in accordance with the requirements of Hong Kong Convention, with Priya Blue being the first and largest of them to meet the  Hong Kong Convention standards.

In conclusion, the evolution of Alang is a testament to the power of innovation and determination. From a small fishing village to a global ship recycling hub, Alang has overcome numerous challenges to become the largest ship recycling destination in the world. As the demand for sustainable ship recycling practices continues to grow, Alang is well-positioned to lead the way towards a more sustainable future.

Images of this sort may be found on the internet when searching for "ship recycling in Alang depicting a past scenario that has now been completely changed." Photo Source: Google