Tag Archives: Ship Breaking

Ship-breaking hurts Bangladesh’s fragile coasts – SciDev.Net South Asia

“On top of this irreparable damage, we also face massive loss of marine life,” says Matin. “Fish are often seen floating up dead in the surrounding sea, and fresh water around the coastal areas of Sitakunda contains many toxic chemicals.”

Formalised in 2006, the industry had by 2012 allowed Bangladesh to recover an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of steel. At the same time, according to the study, thousands of tonnes of toxic substances such as asbestos, lead, waste oil and other chemicals were discharged into the soil and sea.

via Ship-breaking hurts Bangladesh’s fragile coasts – SciDev.Net South Asia.

It’s Almost Time To Flip The Shipwrecked Costa Concordia — Here’s How The Complex Plan Will Go Down – SFGate

costa concordia salvage operation

The teams on site will have only one chance to flip the ship upright. If it goes wrong, the backup plan is to break up the ship where it lies, at a huge cost to the local environment.

via It’s Almost Time To Flip The Shipwrecked Costa Concordia — Here’s How The Complex Plan Will Go Down – SFGate.

EU and South Asia Scrap Over Recycling Ships – WSJ.com

The proposed legislation would bar ships flying European Union flags from “beaching” old ships, that is, steaming them onto shore, where they are dismantled by hand at informal shipyards. The low-cost, ship-scrapping industry of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is a multibillion-dollar business employing about a million workers, and the three countries account for more than 70% of the global ship-recycling industry.

The European Parliament has approved measures that would ban beaching and fine EU shipowners for violations. Advocacy groups have criticized beaching for its poor safety and environmental record, preferring that ship breaking, as the broader vessel-recycling industry is known, be conducted in dry dock or at piers so that waters aren’t exposed to toxic spills.

via EU and South Asia Scrap Over Recycling Ships – WSJ.com.

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 |.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.