Saturday, December 15, 2012

Ship Disposal and Environmental Impacts


After a ship has reached the end of its effective life, responsible disposal should immediately commence in accordance with the proper regulations and guidelines  set out by international environmental authorities such as the Basel Convention, United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), and the IMO or International Marine Organization. Priority should be given to ships posing the greatest environmental risk and having the worst conditions. Ship Breaking and Green Ship Recycling is the best ship disposal method and the most environmentally friendly ship disposal option. This would be discussed in a separate article.


These ships contained radioactive materials and toxic substances such as asbestos, PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl), lead, mercury, and other toxic chemicals. They have failed to follow the Basel Convention that hazardous wastes should be removed in accordance to environmentally sound procedures before scrapping, recycling, or disposal.
1. Clemenceau (Aircraft Carrier) - France
2. SS Norway (Passenger Ship) - Norway
3. SS Oceanic (Ocean Liner) - USA


1. Ship Breaking and Recycling
2. Ship Museum
3. Floating Drydock storage
4. Hulking - floating without  riggings and equipment
5. Artificial reef - sinking  ship for marine life, diving sites
6. SINKEX - Sinking Exercise, Navy live fire target program
7. Ship Donation
8. Sale



- Exposure of birds, marine life, and wildlife to harmful and toxic chemicals from aging ships
- Empty ships taking space
- Rotting, rusting ships contribute to water pollution
- Essentially a floating garbage, ship graveyard or cemetery

Floating Dry Dock

- Storm-water runoff contamination with dissolved metal particles
- Blasting using high pressure pumps to wash down salt, slime, biofouling, and paint produces wastewater containing harmful sediments
- Cleaning agents contain lead, anti-fouling, and persistent organic pollutants (POP)
- Submerged FDD can deter the passage of fish

Ship Museum

- Deterioration from outdoor weather conditions
- Wastewater from operations
- Use of environmentally unfriendly cleaning chemicals 

Artificial Reef

- Poor growth and survivability of branching corals
- Reefs attract certain sea creatures, but don't necessarily cause an increase in living matter
- Creates habitat for certain species but would harm the natural ecology
- Artificial reefs made of old ships consist of metal junk which replaces existing natural habitats for species
- Sinking ships alter natural habitats and the desired enhancement is not realized
- Decreases fish stocks by promoting concentrations of fish, which makes them easier to catch, thereby overfishing
- Successful artificial reefs have specific geometry that is designed for the purpose and must be located at the correct underwater location

Sink Exercise (SINKEX, Navy's live ship targeting program)

- Toxic wastes from the sunk ship and explosions pollute the oceans
- Adverse effect on the foodchain and sea foods that people eat
- Contaminated marine life showed high levels of toxicity and then decreased the numbers of species
- Opposes federal marine conservation efforts
- Media, environmentalists, and other groups consider SINKEX as federally irresponsible

Ship Breaking and Recycling

- Best ship disposal method and the most environmentally sound ship disposal option
- 99% of the material is recyclable and reusable
- Savings on production or import of iron, steel, and other metals for shipbuilding
- Supplies raw materials to steel mills, steel manufacturing plants and other businesses
- Generates jobs and revenue
- Shipbreaking is the only environmentally friendly option that uses "Green Ship Recycling" that properly remove and correctly process hazardous wastes at approved facilities
- Certified and approved Green Ship Recycling facilities require shipbreaking operations in compliance with relevant legislation and treaties such as the Basel Convention, The International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas ( UNCLOS), International Maritime Organization (IMO), United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), The Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

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