BW Offshore Says Fatal Incident in Indian Yard Not Related to Its FPSOs

BW Cidade de São Vicente ©BW Offshore.jpg

Oslo-listed FPSO leasing company BW Offshore said Wednesday a fatal incident had occurred in the Priya Blue shipyard in India, but that it was not related to ongoing recycling of former BW Offshore FPSOs at the yard.

BW Offshore said in February it had signed an agreement with Priya Blue Industries yard in India to recycle the Cidade de São Vicente FPSO in compliance with Hong Kong Convention. The convention, adopted in 2009, is aimed at ensuring that ships when being recycled after reaching the end of their operational lives, do not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety, and the environment.

The FPSO, delivered in the year when the convention was adopted, was sold to the yard for $12.8 million in cash.

The company issued a press release on Wednesday, responding to a report by NGO Shipbreaking Platform which said that "a worker lost his life while scrapping BW Offshore’s Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) unit CIDADE DE SAO VICENTE (IMO 7380693) at an Indian beaching yard on April 21. According to local sources, a nitrogen tank removed from the vessel violently exploded and killed the worker on the spot."

"Despite having been offered a more sustainable solution for the recycling of the vessel when it was in the Middle East by new-comers Elegant Exit Company at the Bahrain-based ASRY dry-dock and SULB steel production facility, BW Offshore decided to sell the FPSO to the Indian beaching yard for a supposedly higher price. Assisted by Arctic Shipbrokers, Grieg Green and Priya Blue’s cash buyer Best Oasis, the deal was branded as a green sale. The FPSO changed its name to VICE and its flag to St Kitts and Nevis before it was ramped up on the Alang tidal mudflat," NGO Shipbreaking Platform said. The NGO's mission is to ensure "shipbreaking workers’ right to a safe job, the use of best available technologies, and for equally protective environmental standards globally. "Credit: NGO Shipbreaking Platform

BW Offshore: Incident Unrelated to Our FPSOs

In a statement on Wednesday, BW Offshore said: "The company can confirm that it, on April 21, was informed about a fatal accident at Priya Blue plot V1. The accident was unrelated to the ongoing recycling of former BW Offshore FPSOs at the yard."

"The company's representatives at the yard did not witness the event. They are in close contact with the yard about the ongoing investigation and have offered their assistance. Further questions about the accident should be directed to the management of Priya Blue plot V1," BW Offshore said.

As for the Priya Blue shipyard, its website info shows that the Class NK Compliant firm has so far recycled 66 ships including  5 ULCC, 16 VLCC, three FPSO units, and three drillships.

Offshore Engineer has reached out to Priya Blue shipyard, seeking more info on the incident. We will update the article with any response we may receive.

NGO Shipbreaking Platform: Alang yards Unsafe Despite Hong Kong Certification

According to NGO Shipbreaking Platform, Priya Blue Industries was amongst the first yards in India to obtain a so-called “Statement of Compliance with the Hong Kong Convention” from Japanese ClassNK, and is also a member of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative since 2018. 

However, NGO Shipbreaking Platform saysrecent audit reports by the European Commission have highlighted a series of structural deficiencies at the Alang shipbreaking yards, including Priya Blue Industries, related to the lack of infrastructure to contain pollutants in the primary cutting area, the non-existence of capacity to handle several hazardous wastes originating from ships downstream, the absence of medical facilities and breaches of labour laws. 

"In 2019, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform documented another fatal accident at Priya Blue Industries, and Dutch investigative program Zembla uncovered that same year the shocking conditions under which the scrapping of the mercury-laden Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) tanker YETAGUN took place in another site owned by Priya Blue,NGO Shipbreaking Platform said.

In its statement on Wednesday, NGO Shipbreaking Platform also called for BW Offshore to follow "significant improvement" with FPSO recycling apparently shown by rival FPSO giant SBM Offshore.

"In what is a significant improvement, Dutch company SBM Offshore, owner of the infamous Yetagun, radically changed their recycling policy after the revelations of Zembla by banning the use of beaching yards and only allowing the scrapping of its offshore assets at yards that use a dry-dock or the landing on concrete slope with drainage system," NGO Shipbreaking Platform said.

Ingvild Jenssen - Executive Director - NGO Shipbreaking Platform said: "We encourage BW Offshore and BW Group to follow SBM’s example and ensure that their end-of-life fleet is managed exclusively in facilities that can ensure the highest environmental and social standards. Shipowners – and their brokers – have an obligation to conduct due diligence when selecting business partners. When safer alternatives to beaching exist, ignoring the social and governance failings in Alang and contributing to the greenwashing of an outmoded and polluting method for the sake of more money is simply not acceptable anymore."

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