Category Archives: Maritime Deconstruction

BKLYN Designs: Aellon Turns Shipwrecked Boats and Reclaimed Materials into Fabulous Furnishings | Inhabitat

Inhabitat has a nice feature on Aellon – folks who make goods from boats. Check it out and be inspired.

Serious stewards of the earth who ensure their work has the smallest environmental impact, Aellon has a wide-ranging handcrafted product range that will enliven any home.

[vimeo w=400&h=300]

via BKLYN Designs: Aellon Turns Shipwrecked Boats and Reclaimed Materials into Fabulous Furnishings | Inhabitat New York City.

Shipwrecks in the Staten Island Boat Graveyard | Urban Ghosts |

staten island boat graveyard 3 Rusting Wrecks in the Staten Island Boat Graveyard

The Staten Island Boat Graveyard – officially called Witte Marine Scrap Yard or Arthur Kill Boat Yard – is the final resting place of dozens of rusting, rotting, abandoned and decommissioned vessels. Rossville‘s last commercial maritime salvage yard, the semi-submerged boats are popular with local urban explorers and others interested in Staten Island’s maritime history.

staten island boat graveyard 4 Rusting Wrecks in the Staten Island Boat Graveyard

staten island boat graveyard 5 Rusting Wrecks in the Staten Island Boat Graveyard

Photographs by Bob Jagendorph go see the rest via Shipwrecks in the Staten Island Boat Graveyard | Urban Ghosts |.

Ship Recycling Fund Approved by European Parliament · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader


Environment Commissioner Janez Poto?nik said: “Although the ship recycling sector has improved its practices, many facilities continue to operate under conditions that are dangerous and damaging. This proposal aims to ensure that our old ships are recycled in a way that respects the health of workers as well as the environment. It is a clear signal to invest urgently in upgrading recycling facilities.” The new rules, which will take the form of a Regulation, propose a system of survey, certification and authorization for large commercial seagoing vessels that fly the flag of an EU Member State, covering their whole life cycle from construction to operation and recycling.

via Ship Recycling Fund Approved by European Parliament · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader.

Abandoned Steam Ship Transformed into Giant Street Art Gallery

“Mauricamia” by Fin DAC & Written by: Yohani Kamarudin


Geisha mural on the Duke of Lancaster with blue sky

The decks are empty and the turbines still and silent on this hulking steamer. For over three decades, the Duke of Lancaster sat on the banks of the River Dee in north Wales, slowly rusting away. To anyone who saw her, the ship was little more than another abandoned maritime relic, but that was before the DuDug project intervened – and artists turned what had become a giant eyesore into a colorful open-air art gallery.

Pirate graffiti on the Black Duke in Wales

Three street art murals on the Duke of Lancaster

See the rest via Abandoned Steam Ship Transformed into Giant Street Art Gallery.

Shipbreaking: World’s most dangerous job? –

Decommissioning ships – or shipbreaking kills people.

Poor people of course. Poor people that live very far from where the ships are originally created.

Lets do something about this shall we? Start by just learning that this dangerous industry exists. We’ll help with that part.

If you have any good ideas to get the word out about shipbreaking, we’d like to hear them. Please use the comments section to let us know. Thanks!

Shipbreaking: World's most dangerous job?

Given the appalling conditions here, some have even called for a moratorium on Asian shipbreaking. “Despite the possibility of proper disposal in Europe or other developed countries, the vast majority of European shipping companies continue to profit by having their ships broken cheaply and dangerously on the beaches of South Asia,” says Patrizia Heidegger, executive director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “The EU must adopt mechanisms that will prevent European ship owners from exporting toxic ships for breaking in developing countries and instead recycle them according to the health, safety and environmental laws and standards of their own countries.”

Read this article via Shipbreaking: World’s most dangerous job? –

Laurel 1891 — Upcycle Americas Oldest Oyster Boat by Jean Paul Vellotti — Kickstarter

Look what we found waiting in our in-box from Kickstarter this morning. You better believe with think this is a great idea!

They need some serious clams though, so if you like it too cruse on over and throw them a line (or two).

Enjoy sustainably-harvested oysters and cocktails on the deck of Laurel. Upcycled crafts from her deck restoration make great gifts.

This image shows how Laurel looks today, ready for her journey as an oyster bar.

Although the Laurel holds the honor of “oldest active fishing vessel” by the United States Coast Guard, her days of hard-work are behind her. Laurel is a real head turner so we came up with an idea to bring her from port-to-port and let people come aboard and hear about her legacy…and have some really great oysters and cold drinks at the same time.

Additionally, farmers harvest dinners on her deck for a limited number of guests, served family style, should prove to be a hit. Because Laurel is a mobile platform, guest chefs at many locations are possible which will keep the menu exciting. And, for hyper-local foodies, Laurel can still harvest her own shellfish, so dont be surprised if the oysters you eat in the evening were harvested by her that morning!

This image from 1930 shows Laurel docked at Greenport, Long Island, NY. For 50 years (from 1905 to 1955), Laurel brought seed oysters from Connecticut and planted them in the Great Peconic Bay; she returned weekly with Long Island grown oysters.

Laurel's deck beams will be replaced by Maine-shipwright Captain Robert Blood (yes, that's really his name). Inset is a photo of A.C. Brown, master carpenter and builder of Laurel.

Laurel sitting pretty after her yearly painting and caulking at Cove Marina in Norwalk, CT. In the background is another wooden oyster boat, the Catherine M. Wedmore.

You can almost taste the sea in this photo of Laurel passing Penfield Light off Fairfield, CT. As you can see, her decks have seen better days.

via Laurel 1891 — Upcycle Americas Oldest Oyster Boat by Jean Paul Vellotti — Kickstarter.

For craftsmen, reclaimed wood is a tangible reminder of history – –

Interesting story on

Preserved old growth timber for ship building found in a salt pond. Its like winning the lottery of wood – if you are into that kind of thing.

Brett Stevens fashions a bench using 19th-century wood that was reclaimed from a salt-water pond at the Charlestown Navy Yard in 2010.

He crafts benches, tables, picture frames, candle holders, and lamp bases from sections of live oak and white oak that were retrieved from the Charlestown Navy Yard in 2010. The enormous timbers were discovered while crews were prepping the site for the ongoing Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital construction project.

As Stevens explained, the wood had been stored in a salt-water pond to preserve it for the eventual reconstruction of either the USS Constitution (a frigate launched in 1797, and widely known as Old Ironsides) or the USS Constellation (launched in 1854). But in the mid-1880s, the shipyard began making all-metal boats, and then, in 1914, on the brink of World War I, the timber pond was covered to make room for diesel storage tanks.

Then the wood was all but forgotten — until three years ago. Upon the trove’s rediscovery, Mystic Seaport, a living history museum in Connecticut, took some of the timbers to restore the whaler Charles W. Morgan, while Stevens’ business partner Peter Sel­lew bought the rest — 13 tractor-trailer loads, now stored at New England Hardwood Supply in Littleton.

via For craftsmen, reclaimed wood is a tangible reminder of history – –

1,000kg trash removed from seabed – Khaleej Times

Egypt – has a marine clean up campaign!  Brilliant Egypt – thank you.

One thousand kilograms of waste — including aluminium cans, empty bottles, plastic, glass, ropes, metal pipes and bits of old boats — are now no longer part of the marine life, after a clean up campaign.About 50 professional deep sea divers cleaned the garbage from the sea floor off the coast of Sharjah.Organised by the Sharjah Museums Department SMD and other government bodies on Saturday the ‘Flag Island Seabed Cleanup Campaign’ is the first-of-its-kind event.

via 1,000kg trash removed from seabed – Khaleej Times.

Global Ship Breaking Business Booms as Container Industry Suffers – SPIEGEL ONLINE

The infamous oil tanker Exxon Valdez is almost completely gone, most of it having already been recycled in Indias voracious steel mills. But its dismantling on a beach in India has once again highlighted the dangers, both environmental and physical, associated with the booming ship-breaking industry.

Photo Gallery: The Ship-Breakers of South Asia

In about two more weeks, there will be nothing left of the former oil tanker, which in 1989 was responsible for the largest oil spill ever in the United States, leaking more than 41 million liters (10.8 million gallons) of crude oil into Alaska’s Prince William Sound. After the accident, the Exxon Valdez was converted into an ore carrier, and it was most recently renamed the Oriental N. Priya Blue, an Indian scrapping and salvage company, bought the freighter last spring for $16 million (€11.9 million), solely for the purpose of scrapping it.

A ship being dismantled at the Alang shipyard in India. Leases on the...

On Aug. 2, the ship was grounded at high tide on the beach at Alang. There, at the world’s largest graveyard for ships, more than 300 workers are being paid a few rupees a day to dismantle the vessel.

There was a great outcry when it was revealed that Alang was to be the notorious ship’s final resting place. Although it does not contain more toxic materials than other ships, environmentalists took advantage of the former tanker’s prominence to file a lawsuit at India’s Supreme Court to block its import. It was unsuccessful.

Ship breaking companies are located in many parts of South Asia, including...

But the trial brought to light, once again, the catastrophic conditions at many low-wage shipyards in South Asia, where old ships are being scrapped and gutted. In October, six workers died in a fire in Alang as they were dismantling the oil tanker Union Brave on the beach. One of the workers had struck a pipe with his blowtorch that still contained oil.Workers climbing onto a ship at the Gaddani ship-breaking yard in Pakistan. The...In Pakistan, more than 20 shipyard workers died and more than 150 were injured in 2011. And in Alang alone, 173 workers have died in more than 170 shipyards since 2001, killed by falling steel parts or burned to death in explosions. Workers are sometimes barefoot as they climb over the ships, and toxic waste is often incinerated on the beach.

Read the rest via Global Ship Breaking Business Booms as Container Industry Suffers – SPIEGEL ONLINE.

Marine-related robberies crop up across U.S.

A spate of marine robberies around the country indicates that although the economy is slowly improving, it might not be rebounding quickly enough for some.

From copper wiring and aluminum boat docks sold for scrap, to yellow pine for repairing boats, to boats themselves, several robberies occurred in January, according to news reports.

In Yorktown, Va., The Waterman’s Museum said thieves stole $1,500 worth of boatbuilding lumber from inside the museum’s gates.

“It wasn’t good for anything except fixing or building boats,” volunteer Harry Hart said in a release, The Virginia Gazette reported. “They knew what they were looking for and they took only what they wanted — yellow pine. They just left the white oak where it was sitting.”

The loss of the wood leaves the museum in a difficult situation as it tries to move forward on boat restoration and building projects. That’s because the correct wood is hard to find, especially in the winter.

Continue reading Marine-related robberies crop up across U.S.

The Noorderlicht Café Is A Healthy And Social Eatery in Amsterdam’s Old Shipyard | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

Inhabit has some serious adaptive reuse candy – if you are into that sort of thing.

We are! Especially if the setting is in an shipyard in Amsterdam.

The waterfront along Amsterdam North is a vast industrial area that was once the city’s largest shipyard. Known as NDSM (aka “City of the Arts”), the area is now full of large warehouses and open spaces that have been transformed into experimental projects and shelters. Within its grounds, the brilliant Noorderlicht (Aurora Borealis), which is housed in a former greenhouse, serves as a meeting place for creatives working in the area and offers a wide variety of tasty organic seasonal dishes.

via The Noorderlicht Café Is A Healthy And Social Eatery in Amsterdam’s Old Shipyard | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

Hitler’s Toilet Is In a New Jersey Auto Shop – Tablet Magazine

Just another reason to be Jersey Proud!

For half a century, Greg’s Auto Repair has housed the commode from Aviso Grille, the Führer’s biggest yacht.

After the war ended, the Aviso Grille was taken to the United States and ended up in the hands of New Jersey shipyard owner Harry Doan, who illegally charged visitors 25 cents to board and tour Hitler’s Yacht. However, according to Glass, both Doan and the federal government wanted to prevent the ship from becoming a memorial to Hitler, and so it was scrapped in Doan’s salvage yard in the early 1950s.

At that point, Sam Carlani needed a new toilet. Doan, his close friend and poker buddy, told him he had one available


The article is great, go read it via Hitler’s Toilet Is In a New Jersey Auto Shop – Tablet Magazine.

Historic ship buffs work to restore World War II landing craft, create maritime heritage museum in northwest Oregon |


They’ve been working on the USS LCI 713, an infantry landing craft, for 14 years and hope to have the ship sailing before long — depending on money and parts.

They’re also keeping in touch with other ship restorers, aiming to start a working-model maritime museum between Portland-Vancouver and St. Helens. The museum has received $200,000 in cash donations as well as two grants from the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office for $20,000 and $11,500, said Rick Holmes, president of the Amphibious Forces Memorial Museum, the nonprofit that owns the LCI 713.


Maritime Heritage Coalition

What: An Oregon nonprofit corporation dedicated to promoting regional maritime, environmental and native people’s heritage. It hopes to build a regional maritime heritage center.


LCI 713 donations: Amphibious Forces Memorial Museum, LCI 713, P.O. Box 17220, Portland, OR 97220

LCI 713 volunteering: Rick Holmes, 509-427-5402; Gordon Smith, 360-256-5901;

Museum organizers hope to include Portland’s fully restored World War II-era PT 658, the Oregon Maritime Museum’s sternwheeler Portland and other historic vessels. “We’ve met with these people and we’re making progress,” said Holmes.

via Historic ship buffs work to restore World War II landing craft, create maritime heritage museum in northwest Oregon |

RECYCLINGPORTAL – Green Ship Recycling: New study argues for an incentive for shipowners

“Every year, more European end-of-life ships containing hazardous materials are sent to India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Such practices are unacceptable and Europe is in the driver’s seat to put a stop to this on-going human rights and environmental disaster,” comments Patrizia Heidegger, Executive Director of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. “Only a financial mechanism enforced in EU ports can properly internalize costs and close loopholes, which have allowed ships until now to escape legislation and accountability.”

via RECYCLINGPORTAL – Green Ship Recycling: New study argues for an incentive for shipowners.

Interface To Recycle Discarded Fishing Nets Into Carpet | Sustainable Brands

Global carpet tile manufacturer Interface, Inc. will soon begin using discarded fishing nets to make carpets, bringing both conservation and socioeconomic benefits to some of the world’s poorest coastal communities.

The company recently completed a pilot project, called Net-Works, with conservation charity the Zoological Society of London (ZSL). By establishing a community-based supply chain for discarded nets, Net-Works aims to improve the livelihood of local fishers, while providing Interface with an innovative source of recycled materials for its carpet tiles.

Discarded nets on the beaches or in the sea have a detrimental effect on the environment and marine life as they can persist for centuries. But most nylon from these fishing nets is the same material used to make carpet yarn.

The viability of the collaboration was proven between June and October 2012. After conducting research and working closely with local communities and NGOs, Net-Works established the infrastructure to collect the fishing nets, gathering one ton (1,000 kg) of nets in the first month — and substantially cleaning up the beaches in four local communities near Danajon Bank, a threatened coral reef in the Philippines. Operations are now scaling up, with the intention of developing commercial carpet tiles incorporating the collected nets later this year.

Continue reading Interface To Recycle Discarded Fishing Nets Into Carpet | Sustainable Brands

Sunken Memorial Garden Sliced into Submerged Cruise Ship | WebUrbanist

The New Concordia Island Contest winners, Alexander Laing and Francesco Matteo Belfiore, propose slicing the section of the Italian cruise ship that crashed in January of 2012 and planting a garden in the resulting voids, leaving the lower, still-submerged areas as habitat zones.

via Sunken Memorial Garden Sliced into Submerged Cruise Ship | WebUrbanist.

Sailing in Marin: Sausalito boat builder turned a recycled boat into a winner – Marin Independent Journal

If you didn’t know any better, you’d be hard pushed to imagine that the mangy old hull minus a bow or stern attached lying around one corner of Gordie Nash’s workshop, along with a cabin in another corner and a myriad other parts strewn around would eventually become a competitive racing boat.

It was 2002 and Nash had bought a boat that was otherwise headed for the dumpster. Its main bulkhead was rotten and to replace it would be more than the value of the boat, which gave Nash the opportunity to buy it for a steal. Replacing the main bulkhead wasn’t a problem because he planned to move and change it anyway.

Nash, who lives in Sausalito, spent some four years reviving the

Sausalito boat builder and sailor Gordie Nash inspects the bow of his boat Arcadia on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in Sausalito, Calif. He saved the old boat from the dumpster and completely rebuilt it as a modern race boat. (IJ photo/Frankie Frost) Frankie Frost

boat, a Santana 27, which he renamed Arcadia. While rebuilding an old boat was an affordable way for Nash to own a competitive racing boat built to his needs, he also wanted to show that old boats with a good hull can be made into modern racing boats.

“Most of the time when we talk about rebuilding a boat, we’re talking about wood boats,” Nash explained. “Rebuilding a wood boat is to return it to its original configuration. However, fiberglass boats can be more easily modified in their hull shape, cockpit, decks, interior — you’re not stuck with the frames like an original wood boat.”

When a boat gets to 50 years old or even before that, whether fiberglass or wood, it needs major work. Bird Boats, for example, are wooden boats that are 80-plus years old now being restored to their original form.

“They’re great boats — they need to be saved, rescued and rebuilt,” Nash said. “We can do the same thing with a fiberglass boat that can be improved upon without the stigma of destroying its tradition.”

Nash’s criteria for remodeling an old boat included a good hull shape and a keel that could be unbolted. Gary Mull was a Bay Area boat designer whose concepts appealed to Nash and it was a Mull design (the Santana 27) that Nash chose for his “recycle” project.

“Mull was really designing boats that sailed well,” Nash said. “A lot of people think that you can’t change things — the way that a boat is designed is the way it is — but Gary was more open-minded.”

Long before he got stuck into the Arcadia project, Nash shared his ideas for remodeling the hull shape and modernizing the rig of a Santana 27 with Mull. Nash recalls Mull drew his own idea for a modernized Santana 27 on a placement over lunch one day.

“I took his idea and concept which were similar to mine and got started,” Nash said.

Rebuilding included a plumb bow, adding a sugar scoop transom to extend the waterline length and a lifting bulb keel.

Another goal was to ensure Nash and his wife Ruth could double-hand the boat so during reconstruction, Nash put a box in the cockpit for Ruth to stand on to try out different winch positions and heights in relation to her size, as well as to set the tiller up so he could drive as well as run main and backstay with ease.

Six years down the road, he’s still pleased with the result although he agrees that you can always do a second one better. Nash rebuilt a lot of the parts on Arcadia several times to perfect it.


“The first year we sailed the boat we broke stuff,” Nash, 63, said. “Some races we didn’t finish and others we limped across the finish thinking, ‘got to change that’ and the list grew at the end of the race.”

Arcadia won’t plane like ultra light boats so there’s no real reason to increase her sail area, said Nash, but it has enough to perform well in moderate conditions — 10-14 knots — which is where its hull shape best performs, borne out by Nash’s consistent racing success. By year-end he’ll have sailed 32 races on Arcadia, scoring about second in class based on average per race. Not bad for an old boat.

Local sailor David Bacci from Sebastopol has also recycled old racing boats to get exactly what he wants in a boat — performance with as few crew as possible. He concurs with Nash that finding the right hull is key. Bacci’s latest project is an Express 27, which he bought as an unused hull that had purportedly been kicking around the Bay area for some 30 years.

“Fiberglass boats are lasting a lot longer than people thought,” Bacci said. “It’s cheaper to use something existing if you use the right hull — modify a good hull with a new keel and rudder, you have a new boat.”

Nash’s advice on recycling an old boat, “Pick a boat and know how much money you want to spend. Each boat I looked at was an opportunity for a dollar. Fiberglass boats sitting out there are available because they don’t look modern. They’re well built and already structurally sound. Make them into what you want.”

via Sailing in Marin: Sausalito boat builder turned a recycled boat into a winner – Marin Independent Journal.

Car Ferry Converted into Hulking San Francisco Houseboat | WebUrbanist

Its owners, occupants and redesigers Olle Lundberg and Mary Breuer (architects and fabricators by trade of ) looked into everything from tugboats to ships before finding this offbeat beauty and deciding to call it home.

It ‘only’ cost a few hundred thousand to buy, but multiple times that to make fully habitable as an abode and office. Among other expenses, they had to hire the crew to take it on a seven-week trip from Iceland, through the Panama Canal to dock in Mission Bay.

Go see the rest of the article via Car Ferry Converted into Hulking San Francisco Houseboat | WebUrbanist.

Rustic Floating Shelf // Reclaimed Wood // by GreenHouseFraming

Rustic Floating Shelf // Reclaimed Wood // Small // In Stock

Tropical hardwoods salvaged from shipping containers at the Port of Portland have been transformed into these modern floating shelves. We carefully mill each board to preserve and incorporate the rustic character into our minimal design. We then sand the shelves super smooth and hand finish with several layers of our natural oil stain. Past and present collide for a beautiful future in these one of kind shelves.

Rustic Floating Shelf // Reclaimed Wood // Small // In Stock

via Rustic Floating Shelf // Reclaimed Wood // by GreenHouseFraming.

Handmade Custom Tote Bags From Recycled Sails

Handmade Custom Canvas Tote Bags From Recycled Sails

Using recycled sails collected from sailors and sailing communities around the world, Sea Bags designs and manufactures bags, totes and accessories in Maine, on Portland’s working waterfront. From the best-selling classic Navy Anchor Tote to fresh new designs, Sea Bags offers retired sails another life by turning them into handmade one-of-a-kind nautical-inspired pieces.

via Handmade Custom Tote Bags From Recycled Sails.

Recycling Event Planned For Old Boating, Fishing Equipment | WSAV TV

Boaters will be able to dispose of unwanted, damaged, and unusable equipment for free at a special three-day event, November 2-4, 2012.

The Clean Marine event is intended to help prevent boating and fishing equipment from becoming derelict or discarded into our coastal waterways and marshes.  Abandoned boats, old fishing gear, discarded equipment and building materials become marine debris that threatens the health and safety of our coastal environment. Let’s work together to dispose of unused equipment properly before it damages the marsh, shellfish beds, and endangers people and marine life.

Staff volunteers will be on hand to coordinate collection Nov. 2nd 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Nov. 3rd & Nov. 4th 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the following locations:

-Grays Hill Landing

-Bluffton Oyster Factory Park

-Broad River Bridge Landing/Fishing Pier

-C.C. Haig Jr. Landing

-Port Royal Landing Marina

-Benny Hudson Seafood Dock

-Port Royal Commercial Dock

-Broad Creek Marina

-Edgar Glenn Landing (Old Lemon Island Marina)

-Palmetto Bay Marina

-Buddy & Zoo/Station Creek Landing

Acceptable items for disposal include motors, anchors, dock lines, crab traps, nets, coolers, scrap material and accessories. No oils, fuel, solvents, paint or cleaners will be accepted at this event. Large items, including watercraft and trailers, and restricted fluids must be coordinated through Beaufort County Solid Waste and Recycling, call (843)255-2734.

via Recycling Event Planned For Old Boating, Fishing Equipment | WSAV TV.

Floating Beer Garden on Repurposed Ferry Coming to Long Island City, Queens | Inhabitat New York City


Floating Beer Garden on Repurposed Ferry Coming to Long Island City, Queens

by Ayasha Guerin, 08/20/12

beer garden, beer garden queens, beer garden long island city, long island city beer garden, long island city bar, , Queens, Long Island City, Hunters Point, Floating Beer Garden, reused water vessel, Matt Quigley, Prudence Ferry, NYC beer garden, Summer 2013

Photo credit: DNAinfo/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska

Thirsty Long Island City-ites will soon be getting a new watering hole – on a boat. The floating bar will reside upon an old ferry in the area’s Anable Basin, and will boast a lively new beer garden for the nabe. The project’s initiator, Matt Quigley, began the new waterfront venue as a way to enliven and further revitalize Hunters Point.

via Floating Beer Garden on Repurposed Ferry Coming to Long Island City, Queens | Inhabitat New York City.

When The Ship Comes In To Brownsville, Rip it Up : NPR

Back on board at Chambers yard, the ship cutters remove everything of value — the furniture, the plumbing, the fixtures, the lighting — and sell it. A shopper can get some good deals — if theyre open to a nautical theme.

The ship recycling company Bay Bridge Texas recently moved to Brownsville, Tex., the center of the U.S. ship-breaking industry. Bay Bridge's scrapped metal is shipped to Mexico, where it is transformed into automobile parts.

This fall, the U.S. Navy will contract three Cold War-era aircraft carriers — the USS Forrestal, the USS Independence and the USS Constellation — for scrapping. Often called “supercarriers” due to their massive size, each ship contains nearly 60,000 tons of steel and other metal.

All three carriers will be sent to Bay Bridge Texas, LLC, a ship recycling firm near Brownsville, Texas, to be ripped apart.

Tearing up big ships can be a very lucrative business. It’s also a messy one. Walk inside a ship that’s being scrapped, and you’ll find one of the nastiest places imaginable: filthy and rusty, with everything that’s poisonous and salvageable torn out.

If it’s rained, everything’s all wet, too. Brush up against a bulkhead and you can kiss a white shirt goodbye.

But if you’re a ship cutter, this is your office, and your cutting torch, your music to work by. Sixty welders are employed here at Bay Bridge Texas so far, but even more will be hired soon.

An tanker ship waiting to be recycled. Even ships that appear to be in good working condition are valuable as scrap metal.

Bay Bridge Texas is the nation’s newest ship recycling yard, says senior vice president Barry Chambers. The company, backed by Indian investors with deep pockets, just moved from to Brownsville from Chesapeake, Va.

The deepwater Port of Brownsville lies inland at the end of a 17-mile channel connecting to the Gulf of Mexico. The long channel provides unparalleled protection from hurricanes and tropical storms.

An tanker ship waiting to be recycled. Even ships that appear to be in good working condition are valuable as scrap metal.

In the last two decades, this landlocked city has become the center of the U.S. ship recycling industry. Five of the nation’s eight recycling companies are here. It’s like Home Depot locating right next to Lowe’s and Ace Hardware.

Chambers says the infrastructure, the deep water channel and the weather all make the Texas city particularly attractive for his company. But building the yard, he says, still required plenty of work.

“This land did not look like this,” Chambers says. “I put in 175,000 cubic yards of fill, leveled and compacted it.”

Now, the yard’s piers are built to handle ships as large as air craft carriers. The pilings, made of steel cores, sink 60-feet deep.

From a distance, the tanker ship at the dock looks as though giant Post-It notes have been slapped onto the hull. But those squares are actually holes; the ship’s been turned into Swiss cheese for ventilation and light.

Sergio Cazeres, who’s been cutting ships since 1992, says the first cuts are made in the side of the ship. “In the hulls, we make cuts so the air can flow in,” he says. “If it’s too hot then we provide fans.”

Recycled ships are typically scrapped from the top down and from front to back. As the steel is harvested, the bow lightens, and powerful winches begin to pull the ship out of the water and up a ramp.

Large white air bags, supporting 250 tons of weight, are rolled underneath.

Continue reading When The Ship Comes In To Brownsville, Rip it Up : NPR

Design*Sponge | Aellon Furniture

Ok, I promise I did not choose to write about this furniture collection because it’s called the Grace Line. Honest. The Grace Line is a new series from a recently launched sustainable furniture company called Aellon. Based in Brooklyn, Aellon uses reclaimed boat wood (from a 61-foot Indonesian fishing boat named “Grace” that washed ashore after a monsoon) to create beautiful new desks, tables, seating and accessories. I love the mirror above and the table below, but you can check out the full collection online right here. It’s great to see something that was destroyed and headed to the firewood pile (literally, the owners were going to sell it for that purpose) turned into lovely new furniture. xo, grace


Read the whole post via Design*Sponge | Your home for all things Design. Home Tours, DIY Project, City Guides, Shopping Guides, Before & Afters and much more.

Samira and Sheraton Dam Deconstruction Begins After Bicentennial – Cuyahoga Falls, OH Patch

Dont count on seeing those category five whitewater rapids in the Cuyahoga River this summer. But theres a good chance youll be riding them next year.

Deconstruction of the Samira and Sheraton dams on the Cuyahoga River will begin right after the city’s bicentennial celebration, said city engineer Tony Demasi. If all goes well, the dams could be down by Dec. 1.

“A lot of work that we’re going to be doing is going to be behind the scenes,” Demasi said. “Designs need to be finalized and permits need to be approved before the Army Corps of Engineers and the contractors can start work on the river. We may not see any construction until September or October.”

Previous delays and a lawsuit brought by Beaver Falls Excavation have stalled the process to remove the nearly 100-year-old dams and restore the Cuyahoga River. The project is paid for with a $1 million grant from the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewage District through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Read the entire article via Samira and Sheraton Dam Deconstruction Begins After Bicentennial – Cuyahoga Falls, OH Patch.

Navy to resume sinking old ships in US waters – San Jose Mercury News

Conservation groups argue that the ghost ships should instead be recycled at a ship-breaking facility. Concerns about the long-lasting effects of toxic pollutants onboard the ships spurred a lawsuit by those groups to force the Environmental Protection Agency to better catalog and regulate Sinkex. The case, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, is ongoing.

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii—The U.S. Navy is resuming its practice of using old warships for target practice and sinking them in U.S. coastal waters after a nearly two-year moratorium spurred by environmental and cost concerns.

Later this month, three inactive vessels—Kilauea, Niagara Falls and Concord—will be sent to a watery grave off Hawaii by torpedoes, bombs and other ordnance during the Rim of the Pacific naval exercises, or RIMPAC.

The military quietly lifted the moratorium on Sinkex, short for sinking exercise, last year after a review of the requirements, costs, benefits and environmental impacts of the program, the Navy said in a statement to The Associated Press.

It will be the first time since 2010 the Navy has used target practice to dispose of an old ship. Previous targets have ranged from small vessels to aircraft carriers such as the USS America, which was more than three football fields long.

read the entire article via Navy to resume sinking old ships in US waters – San Jose Mercury News.

Laughing Squid: The Ohio River Project, Junk Art Boat to Float Down the Ohio River

On July 9, 2012, Chicken John Rinaldi and his crew will take a handcrafted junk art boat to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and launch it on the Ohio River for The Ohio River Project. They will entertain audiences along the way with performances of Bigfoot: The Musical. A fundraising campaign has been started on Kickstarter to get this amazing project off the ground (and the pledge items are great).

Every year we build sturdy oceangoing boats made of trash, pick a destination and just do it. Trips in the past have included 750 miles of the Mississippi River, 300 miles of the Hudson, traversing the Adriatic Sea from Slovenia to Venice, and a stint on the Ganges.

This year we’ve selected the largest and most populated river in America, the Ohio River, for the summer’s trek. We built an amazing boat out of old books and pianos, reclaimed lumber, and a two-story pedal-powered Ferris Wheel. We are bringing a production of Bigfoot: the Musical, free to audiences on the river.

The Ohio River Project

via Laughing Squid.

RIO+20: In South Asia, it is survival that counts … not the environment – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

Migrant workers haul a steel plate with bare hands from a ship under demolition in the suburb of Chittagong, Bangladesh, on April 28. (Satoru Ogawa)

A large freighter that has been beached is being broken up for recycling. Its steel body lies split open, exposed to the elements.

Dozens of workers are busy with acetylene torches, showering sparks everywhere.

A huge chunk of steel is being worked on. The workers, scurrying around barefoot, haul heavy chunks of metal on their backs and in their bare hands.

The shoaling beach extends more than 10 kilometers and is located some 30 km north of Chittagong, the second largest city in Bangladesh.

More than 100 sites are set up as yards to demolish large vessels.

Decommissioned ships are run aground and then hauled to the beach with ropes, much as slaves in ancient Egypt moved huge stone blocks to build the pyramids.

The method is called “beaching.”

The surface of the nearby Bay of Bengal is awash with fuel oil. Parts of the beach are thick with oil, and workers, if they don’t watch their step, can sink in the sand up to their knees.

It is estimated that 70 percent of all big ships decommissioned in the world are demolished in either Bangladesh, India or Pakistan.

Ship breaking has been roundly criticized since around 2000 for the damage it causes to the environment, and the lack of safety provisions for workers–who are paid a pittance for putting in 11-hour days of strenuous, dirty and dangerous work.

At the site near Chittagong, Mohammed Jamal Uddin climbed to the deck of a decommissioned vessel and lamented: “My wage is 25 taka (about 25 yen, or 30 U.S. cents) an hour. I work 11 hours a day. So I can get only 300 taka at most, including overtime money.”

Asked why he chose this line of work, the 42-year-old replied: “I have no choice. We have no (other) jobs because there are too many people in Bangladesh.”

Read the entire article via RIO+20: In South Asia, it is survival that counts … not the environment – AJW by The Asahi Shimbun.

Penobscot dam destruction begins | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

INDIAN ISLAND — Bill Towsend is an old man now, at 84, but steady enough on his feet to walk down the muddy bank of the Penobscot River and watch as excavators smashed the defunct concrete fishway of the Great Works Dam.

“I am so excited to listen to the sound of those jackhammers whacking away at that concrete,” he said on Monday as he observed the first day of a five-month project to remove the dam. “This is a day I knew would come, but I didn’t know when.”

Townsend, a leader in salmon habitat protection, was a middle-aged man 26 years ago when he launched a fight against a proposed hydroelectric dam at Basin Mills, just downstream from here. The federal government’s decision more than a decade later to kill that project set in motion an ambitious plan for the river’s revival.

Although decades in the making, Monday’s events marked the official start of a $62 million effort to remove two dams and improve fish passages at two other dams.

The project is viewed as a model for other restoration efforts in the nation because of a collaborative approach involving environmentalists, hydro power companies, the federal government and the Penobscot Indians.

The terms of a multi-party agreement will allow power companies to increase power generation elsewhere in the river watershed so there will be no loss of power production.

“It’s really a great day for America and a great example for anyone who believes anything is possible,” said Ken Salazar, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, at a news conference on Monday on the riverbank in the town of Bradley.

Continue reading Penobscot dam destruction begins | The Kennebec Journal, Augusta, ME

Inhabitat – Submarine Transformed into World’s First Deep Sea Bar

Talented London-based designer Jump Studios was commissioned to repurpose a submarine into a cool deep sea bar as part Guinness’ 250 year anniversary celebration. Jump worked with famed carpenter and engineer Nicholas Alexander to follow strict marine construction guidelines. Together the team took measurements of the submarine in Sweden’s Stockholm Archipelago before constructing the pre-fabricated interior shell in Alexander’s London studio. They then assembled the components in sub-zero temperatures before sinking the bar to the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

via Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building.

Tuckasegee River revival: Demolition of Dillsboro dam restores aquatic life

Dillsboro Dam


In the two years since the Dillsboro Dam was torn down, the Tuckasegee River has become home to a growing number of aquatic species, from mussels to insects to fish, as natural river habitat has been restored.

“We’re certainly glad that it’s gone,” U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist Mark Cantrell said last week. “The response was immediate.”



Duke Energy demolished the 12-foot high, 310-foot long dam in February 2010 as environmental mitigation for several other larger dams it operates in the region. Jackson County battled for seven years to keep the dam. It wanted to make the dam a centerpiece of a new public park and promenade, complete with walking paths, benches, fishing areas and river access. Plus, the county argued the dam was historically important to the community.

Duke, however, succeeded in removing the small and ancient dam as compensation for using the Tuck in its lucrative hydropower operations, which net the utility millions annually.

Duke’s contention that the river would be better off environmentally without the Dillsboro dam does seem to have come true, according to Cantrell.

“What we’re seeing now is the rebirth of that section of river and a confirmation of the decision to remove it. There’s no question about it — if you are an angler, boater, fish or bug, the Tuckasegee River is better with the Dillsboro Dam removed,” he said.

Jackson County trout fisherman Craig Green said that he supported the removal of the dam and has been happy to see the river return to its natural free-flowing state.

“Recovery is a strange word — it wasn’t that things were bad, but clearly the dam removal has enhanced the flow for the fish to move back and forth,” said Green, who is a past president of the Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River.

Read the entire article via Tuckasegee River revival: Demolition of Dillsboro dam restores aquatic life.

whimsical, handmade craftsman furniture – Naturalism Furniture – The Alternative Consumer


Achmad Kurt is a German expat who’s been living in Indonesia for over 20 years. His company, All From Boats, specializes in creating one-of-a-kind rustic furniture from the reclaimed and salvaged wood of old fishing vessels.


Kurt buys decommissioned boats from local South Pacific fishermen and uses the raw material from the exotically painted boats to create colorful pieces of rustic furniture.


Kurt’s furniture is hand crafted and made entirely from old boat timber, generally hard woods such as ulin, teak and intaran. The wood is 100% reclaimed and obtained from old trawlers (typically, these boats are 40 to 60 years old) that plied their trade in the exotic waters of Indonesia, Bali, Java, Lombok, Sulawesi and Kalimantan.


All From Boats practices Fair Trade. Kurt has made agreements with local fishermen – when a fishing trawler becomes too expensive to repair, or is about to be disassembled and burned as cooking fuel, he buys the boat – providing the fisherman with weeks of income.

via whimsical, handmade craftsman furniture – Naturalism Furniture – The Alternative Consumer.

Headline News:´The Love Boat´ is destined for the scrap heap

March 9 — The former Pacific Princess, the boat from “The Love Boat” TV series, is being scrapped.

A Turkish demolition company bought the vessel for a little more than $3.3 million (2.5 million euro), according to USA Today.

The 19,903-ton, 600-passenger ship was built in 1971 for Flagship Cruises and dubbed the “Sea Venture.” It was renamed the Pacific Princess in 1975 after joining the Princess fleet, the paper reported.

It became famous during its time as the backdrop for “The Love Boat” from 1977 to 1986.

The boat´s name was shortened to the “Princess” in 2002 after a new “Pacific Princess” was added to the fleet.

The ship has been sitting at dock in Genoa, Italy, for more than a year. It last sailed for the Spanish company Quail Cruises.

via Headline News.

Vanillawood Hearts Reclaimed Wood


The Vanillawood design team source a lot of their treasures through Viridian Wood Products — see our prior coverage here and here — whose ever-changing inventory fuels their creativity.  Kricken loves to find surprising ways to incorporate the wood beyond flooring in her interiors, wrapping it around columns and creating cozy niches with wood-paneled walls. “It’s all about layering textures, colors and materials — and using those materials in unexpected ways!

To learn more about Vanillawood’s design projects and store, please visit their website.

via Vanillawood Hearts Reclaimed Wood.

Floating UFOs: Oil Rig Escape Pods Turned into Hotel Rooms | Designs & Ideas on Dornob


Designed as survival structures, each unit is necessarily independent – they are only connected by location, having been gathered into the same canal and tied off to the same sidewalk, making for truly autonomous stays despite close proximity to city streets (especially if some prankster cuts the lines while you are sleeping! But hey, at least they are designed for surviving on the open seas).

via Floating UFOs: Oil Rig Escape Pods Turned into Hotel Rooms | Designs & Ideas on Dornob.

Free Flow: Will the Biggest Ever Dam Removal Return the Wild to the Elwha River? | OnEarth Magazine

In 1910, Thomas Aldwell began building the first of two dams across the Elwha River on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. His dream was to provide clean, cheap hydropower to nearby Port Angeles. This September, the federal government will start to blow up those dams. Native Americans and fish biologists dream of freeing the river and seeing the Elwha’s legendary wild salmon runs return.

Bold, visionary action or federal boondoggle? You can find people who feel both ways about the biggest dam removal ever in the United States.

The Elwha’s watershed has an area of 321 square miles, 80 percent of it within Olympic National Park. Glacial meltwater crashes down from Mount Olympus through old-growth forest that will never be logged, through a valley that alternates between deep, narrow gorges and open bottomland. Although the Elwha is only forty-five miles long with a hundred miles of tributary streams, it is one of the Northwest’s most famous salmon rivers. Historically, the Elwha had ten runs of anadromous fish — spring and fall chinook, coho, pink, chum, and sockeye salmon, plus summer and winter steelhead, sea-run cutthroat trout, and sea-run bull trout. (Many larger Northwest rivers have only two or three of these fish species.)

Four hundred thousand salmon, more or less, returned every year, until the Elwha Dam was completed in 1913 and completely blocked salmon from all but the lower five miles of the river. Run after run of salmon bashed themselves against the 105-foot-high concrete barrier, trying to find a way upriver. A fish hatchery built as a “replacement” for the river was unsuccessful, and was abandoned in 1922. Remnant salmon runs, numbered in the tens or hundreds, struggled to survive in the fragment of river they could still reach.

The dams blocked more than salmon. The Elwha flows from steep, geologically active mountains and during floods the river carries tons of cobbles, gravels, sand, and dirt (all from natural processes within the national park) downstream. Since the second dam was finished in 1927, the river dumps that bedload, an estimated 180,000 cubic yards per year, in the slack water of a reservoir. Below the dams, the river is starved of the raw materials that build riverbeds, gravel bars, and spawning habitat for salmon. The beaches at the river mouth have eroded, losing 75 to 150 feet since 1927. The saltwater shoreline has receded and steepened, with the beach now made of stones instead of sand. To the east, Ediz Hook, a long, curved sandspit that protects the harbor of Port Angeles, erodes without new sand provided from the river. Now, the Army Corps of Engineers spends over $100,000 a year to control erosion on the spit, a service the Elwha used to provide for free.

Also, the dams starve the river of driftwood logs, the fallen trees that drift downstream and form logjams, the building blocks of deep pools and cover for fish. And with the salmon unable to swim upstream, the upper watershed is deprived of the nutrients in the salmon’s bodies. In undammed salmon rivers, scientists have found that up to 30 percent of the nitrogen in the upstream food web derives from ocean sources — carried upstream in the bodies of spawning salmon.

The Elwha River was not dead. But the once dynamic river was fixed, its potency cut by the dams. Yet some people, from the Elwha S’Klallam Indian tribe and from environmental groups, dreamed that the river could be free. An idea that seemed like late-night bar talk gained strength, and in 1992 Congress passed a law authorizing full restoration of the Elwha River ecosystem, a law that included the purchase and removal of the dams.

Progress was slow but steady. In 2000, the federal government bought and began operating the two dams and hydroelectric projects. Work began in 2007 on a water treatment plant to clear turbidity from dam removal from Port Angeles drinking water. A few weeks ago, the hydropower generators were shut down.

Actual dam removal will begin soon, on September 17. It won’t be as dramatic as a building implosion; the deconstruction will take at least three years. But chunks of concrete will start coming out, and there will be no going back after September 17.

A smaller dam removal on Oregon’s Sandy River, east of Portland, has had encouraging results. When the Marmot Dam was dynamited in 2007, wild coho salmon swam upriver past the old barrier only three days later. Sediment accumulated behind the dam for decades was far less troublesome than scientists had predicted. The Sandy River “digested” the sediment without trouble, moving and shaping it into gravel bars and banks.

The Elwha dam removal, however, is a gorilla compared to the Marmot Dam removal. Marmot Dam was 47 feet high; the two dams on the Elwha are 105 feet and 210 feet respectively. Marmot Dam had one million cubic yards of sediment accumulated in its reservoir; the two Elwha dams have a combined total of about 17 million cubic yards of sediment built up in their reservoirs. “Expect surprises,” one scientist has said.

What we really want to know about removing dams is this: Can we undo what we’ve done to a wild river? If we unlock a river, can a watershed rebuild itself? After a century without salmon, what happens when salmon return?

The Elwha River will be this country’s biggest attempt yet to answer this question. I’ll be there in September to witness it.

via Free Flow: Will the Biggest Ever Dam Removal Return the Wild to the Elwha River? | OnEarth Magazine.

PacifiCorp removing Condit Dam | Sustainable Business Oregon



“This is an essential step in restoring the ecosystem’s resources and rebuilding the natural balance that supported the Yakama people and a significant tribal fishery for millennia,” said Virgil Lewis, tribal council member, in a statement.

A hole blasted in base of the dam is planned for October, releasing Northwestern Lake into the White Salmon River. Once the reservoir is drained, the rest of the dam will be demolished, with restoration work extending through 2012.

via PacifiCorp removing Condit Dam | Sustainable Business Oregon.

Dismantling of Davy Crockett picking up speed | The Columbian (Oregon)

The Coast Guard conducted a media tour of the derelict Davy Crockett on Thursday, showcasing the progress of its deconstruction. The stern, at top, was refloated a few days ago after it was cut free from the rest of the 432-foot-long barge. The midship section remains submerged and will be cut up by divers working underwater. A coffer dam of metal sheet pilings surrounds the vessel, containing oil and other pollutants.

Photo by Steven Lane

The Coast Guard conducted a media tour of the derelict Davy Crockett on Thursday, showcasing the progress of its deconstruction. The stern, at top, was refloated a few days ago after it was cut free from the rest of the 432-foot-long barge. The midship section remains submerged and will be cut up by divers working underwater. A coffer dam of metal sheet pilings surrounds the vessel, containing oil and other pollutants.

via Dismantling of Davy Crockett picking up speed | The Columbian.