Ship breaking or ship demolition is a type of ship disposal involving the
breaking up of ships for either a source of parts, which can be sold for
re-use, or for the extraction of raw materials, chiefly scrap. It may also
be known as ship dismantling, ship cracking, or ship recycling. Modern ships have a lifespan of 25 to 30 years before corrosion, metal fatigue and a lack of parts render them uneconomical to operate. Ship-breaking allows the materials from the ship, especially steel, to be recycled and made into new products. This lowers the demand for mined iron ore and reduces energy use in the steelmaking process. Fixtures and other equipment on board the vessels can also be reused. While ship-breaking is sustainable, there are concerns about the use by poorer countries without stringent environmental legislation. It is also labour-intensive, and considered one of the world’s most dangerous industries.
The decommissioning process is entirely different in developed countries than it
is in developing countries. In both cases, ship-breakers bid for the ship, and the
highest bidder wins the contract. The ship-breaker then acquires the vessel from
the international broker who deals in outdated ships. The price paid is around
$400 per tonne and the poorer the environmental legislation the higher the price.
The purchase of water-craft makes up 69% of the income earned by the industry in
Bangladesh, versus 2% for labour costs. The ship is taken to the decommissioning
location either under its own power or with the use of tugs.
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