The Le Clemenceau Controversy: Business vs. Safety

            
 
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Case Details:

Case Code : BECG062
Case Length : 8 Pages
Period : 1997-2006
Pub. Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : -
Industry : Ship-breaking
Countries : France, India

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.



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Excerpts

Business Versus Safety

Despite the unsafe working conditions and potential health risks prevailing at the ship-breaking yards in Alang, the ship-breaking industry was a vital part of the economy of Gujarat. Le Clemenceau was seen as an excellent opportunity to revive the confidence and fortunes of this declining industry.

Raj Bansal, President of the Gujarat Ship Breaker's Association, said, "We badly need a big vessel to revitalize ship liners' confidence in us internationally.

Of 173 plots, only 16 or 17 are operational in Alang. Earlier, we have received bigger navy ships from the US and dismantled them as per the norms."

Even as the Le Clemenceau controversy was raging, companies involved in the ship-breaking business were busy negotiating with the SCMC, Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), and the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) to convince them about safety standards implemented at the port for dismantling ships.

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The ship-breaking companies also contracted a private firm specializing in dealing with hazardous waste such as asbestos and PCBs to help them in dealing with the toxic material present in Le Clemenceau.

The Le Clemenceau controversy left the ship breakers at Alang jittery about the inevitable negative publicity that would follow with the spotlight being turned onto the hazardous working conditions at their yards.

They expected increased pressure on ship-breaking firms from environmentalists and even the courts (once the report of the expert panel was ready), to modernize their operations and ensure better worker safety standards...

Exhibits

Exhibit I: Brief Note on the Ship-breaking Industry in India
Exhibit II: Dangers Associated with Ship Scrapping
Exhibit III: Ailments Caused by Asbestos

 

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