Today, when recycling and re-using goods and products become an important requirement, even ships are recycled. With the rise in awareness towards maritime environment, there have been several changes in the process of ship breaking, which have given rise to a new term – green ship recycling.
Why is Ship Recycling needed?
Ship dismantling is highly necessary as the maintenance expenses of a particular vessel keep increasing with time and difficult to affordable. Therefore, the shipowners seek the easy way out and hand over the old vessel for effective disposal, so that they can focus on dealing with other regular expenses like port charges, fuel charges, and also salaries of the crew members.
Originally, the cheapest available materials were used on land and at sea, ex: asbestos to make fire retardant clothes, insulation and packing materials, and CFC gases in refrigeration systems, without assessing the harm they caused to humans or to the environment.
Many equipment, even today, still contain heavy metals such as Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Chromium and Radioactive materials.
Over the years, regulatory pressure (IMO Resolution MEPC.269(68) and the Hong Kong recycling convention) enforced the marine industry to minimize the use of potentially hazardous to human health and the environment, so that when ships are demolished (recycled), those harmful toxins do not find their way into the local land based environment.
How is Ship Breaking carried out?
Briefly, before the dismantling process starts, the fuel tanks of the ships are completely drained to prevent any accidental explosions in the yard. Then the “scrappers” take over the particular vessel to explore it and locate useful items that may include flags, liquor, plumbing, electrical wiring, electronics, furniture, and machinery. All these items are reused or sold in the local market and sold at bargained price.
What’s Green Recycling concept?
• To isolate those parts of the ship which are harmful and dangerous to both marine and human lives
• To preserver marine ecosystem by proper discarding ship breaking waste
• Reusing those parts of the ship that are important and can be re-used successfully while making new ships, thus saving resources.
• To benefit the ship owner by optimum utility of the ship’s parts
Main components of the ship that are reused include steel parts and other parts in the interior of the ship. Green ship recycling was initially the carried out only by developed countries, however today, even developing countries have started inculcating processes that promote green ship breaking.
In order to become a part of the green ship recycling process, a ship has to have a certain document. This document is known as the Green Passport.
For new constructions, a document called “Green Passport” , a class society such as DNV, ABS, BV issues a certificate of compliance. This, together with the inventory of hazardous materials and declarations that the ship is free of certain materials, form the Green Passport.
The “Green Passport” has three parts:
(1) Inventory of potentially hazardous materials used in construction, paint, plastics;
(2) Operationally Generated Wastes, Oil residues, gases, chemicals;
The Green Passport:
- Is not difficult to compile; it records hazards rather than prohibits them.
- Approval is a simple extension of surveyors normal duties.
- Issued at new building is inherently more accurate than that issued for an existing ship.
- Is designed to aid scrapping & help protect workers and the environment.
This document is handed over to the buyer. The subsequent buyers have to maintain a record of all changes in materials and equipment and finally the Green Passport is handed over to the licensed recycling yard along with the vessel, during delivery for demolition. Hence that hazardous materials in the ship can be identified and disposed of in an environmentally clean and safe way.
For existing ships, Hazardous Material experts have to attend and identify each hazardous material and make an inventory for each ship.
Green ship recycling because of its success rate can become even more famous and important to the marine industry in the future. Added with the benefit of more technological developments, it can be hoped that the process of ship breaking will become even more common and feasible across all nations in the world.