Foundation for Science Vs. Union of India and Anr  Insc 900 (6 September 2007)
Arijit Pasayat & S.H. Kapadia
O R D
E R WRIT PETITION (C) NO. 657 of 1995 (With SLP ) No. 16175/1997, C.A. No.7660/1997 and Suo Motu Con.Petition 155/2005) Dr.
ARIJIT PASAYAT, J
order dated 17.2.2006 in the present W.P.(C) No.657/1995 this Court passed the
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"
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. They 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.
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:
Table-2.1. Categories of Ships of "Special Concern"
Nature of Concern Essential Infrastructure and Precautions Necessary
Warships Large quantities of PCBs, ACMs 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
Large Passenger Liners Large quantities of PCBs, ACMs 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
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.
cores and all radioactive wastes to be removed by owner before last voyage for
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.
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.
recommended process for anchoring, beaching and breaking needs to be quoted:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Recommended Process for Anchoring:
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:
Name of the Ship
Name of the Master of the Ship and his nationality
List of the crew
GRT/NRT/LDT of the ship with supporting documents
Assessment of hazardous wastes/hazardous substances:
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.
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.
Recommended Process for Beaching:
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.
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.
Process for Breaking:
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 therefor.
Recycling Facility Management Plan:
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:
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.
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 recycling
Identification of roles and responsibilities of supervisors, contractors, and
(d) A programme
for appropriate training of workers and availability of adequate PPEs and
material handling equipment.
emergency preparedness and response plan for the plot.
system for monitoring the performance of the ship recycling operations.
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
Ship Specific Dismantling Plan:
starting the recycling process, the recycler should submit a Dismantling Plan
to the authorities, which should include:
Details about the ship, and in particular, a fair assessment of hazardous
Ship breaking schedules with sequence of work.
Operational work procedures.
Availability of material handling equipment and PPEs.
Plan for removal of oil and cleaning of tanks.
Hazardous waste handling and disposal plan.
"Gas-free and fit for hot work" certificate issued by the Department
of Explosives, or any competent agency authorized by the Department of
Identification and marking of all non-breathable spaces by the Recycler.
Identification and marking of all places containing/likely to contain hazardous
Confirmation to the effect that ballast water has been exchanged in the high
seas The tasks should address all the three phases of recycling, i.e.
Waste stream management.
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.
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."
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:
The removal of asbestos dust and fibres and its handling should be done in a
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.
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.
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.
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.
Asbestos fiber concentrations should be monitored regularly.
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.
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.
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:
accept the following recommendations of HPC:
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.
The ship should be properly decontaminated by the ship owner prior to the
breaking. This should be ensured by SPCBs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There should be immediate ban of burning of any material whether hazardous or
non-hazardous on the beach.
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.
That the plots where no activities are being currently conducted should not be
allowed to commence any fresh ship- breaking activity unless they have
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
The continuation or expansion of the Alang ship- breaking operations should be
permitted subject to compliance with the above recommendations by the plot-
That the above conditions also apply to other ship- breaking activities in
other coastal States."
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
is ordered accordingly.