What is ship breaking

The term ‘ship breaking’ refers to the activity of breaking up vessels for the purpose of recycling. Ship breaking is also known as ‘ship demolition’ and is an activity carried out in most countries worldwide. Ship owners must be aware of ship breaking, particularly if they wish to dispose of their vessel.

Ship breaking explained

Essentially, ship breaking is the structured disposal of a ship, yacht or any other vessel for recycling purposes and is performed by professionals, usually in a ship yard. The most common form of ship breaking is “green ship recycling” in approved facilities for the task of ship disposal.

Oftentimes, ship breaking is required due to the fact that a vessel has naturally come to the end of its life span (usually four decades depending on the ship’s activity).

Vessels can undergo regular repair, maintenance and surveys to ensure they are seaworthy and certifiable for navigating international waters, however, where it becomes more costly for the ship owner to keep repairing the ship, they may simply enlist ship breaking services.

Ship breaking can help owners save money on repairing a vessel that is essentially ‘beyond repair’, and will also enable them to recycle parts of the ship for alternative use. The most popular material that is commonly reused from a ship after ship breaking occurs is steel. Equipment built into a ship that is still in working order can also be recycled for future use.

Although ship breaking is considered a necessary duty for the disposal of ships once the vessels life time comes to an end, the actual act of ship breaking poses numerous environmental and health and safety concerns for both the surrounding environment and the workers.