An old freshwater cruiser “Blue White Eagle” (built 1960) was demolished at Turku Repair Yard in October 2017 as a pilot project in a ground of Ship recycling project in Finland. The ship was smaller than was planned, and complex by its structure, but acted well as the first praxis when breaking a ship in the project. Blue White Eagle was towed from Lappeenranta to Naantali. It had lied in the Lappeenranta port for six years and had become an apparent environmental risk; demolishing the ship can also be considered an environmental act.
The project was carried out by a consortium of Turku Repair Yard (ship yard with a dry-dock), Meriaura (shipping and purchasing the ship), Delete (breaking services and removal of waste) and Hans Langh (washing and removal of liquid waste). In the first phase oil containing liquid waste was removed, and the upper deck was dismantled and cleaned at a quay, after which the ship was removed to dry-dock. An ice breaker “Kontio” was simultaneously repaired in dry-dock; this proved not to make any problem, there was plenty of room for the shipbreaking operations, too.
Demolishing the vessel in dry-dock went on smoothly. The work was done mechanically by excavators equipped with cutting tools, assisted by sorting and loading machines and a truck. Deck structures made of aluminium were dismantled first, followed by the hull which was cut into blocks; the engine room was left the last section to enable independent work there and to remove the engines. Oxygen cutting was needed to remove heavy axles. Some marine equipment was saved to be sold as such.
A permission for experimental shipbreaking activity had been granted by the regional authorities, which required strict environmental instructions to be followed during the operations; various environmental measurements had also to be done in course of the work. After dismantling, an environmental report had to be submitted to the authorities.
Main recycling material received was iron and steel scrap, 370 tonnes all together (65 % of the total weight). Other materials included aluminium (11 tonnes), copper, brass, stainless steel and electronic scrap (including cables), few hundreds or kilos each. A volume of waste (170 tonnes of mixed waste), however, proved to be greater than expected, mainly due to a complex structure of the vessel and e.g. concrete, which was used as covering the decks.
The total costs of the project amounted to 219 000 euros, and as the estimated revenues will be around 75 000 euros, the project was clearly unprofitable. This was not unexpected, but a small size and complex structure and amount of waste increased unit costs further.
However, as a test the project gave valuable information of the following items: purchasing a ship, procedure of environmental requirements, appropriate dismantling methods and mechanical techniques, dismantling simultaneously with a ship under repairing, uniting of various phases of dismantling, operations of subcontracting companies, and cooperation between the companies of the consortium.