Significant development steps started in ship recycling

February 23, 2021
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The collaboration between India and Finland has started on investigating the possibilities of ship recycling. The project is sponsored by Turku Repair Yard Ltd, Machine Technology Center, Turku, and Delete Finland Oy.

Gujarat Pettay Ship Recycling
Prime Minister Mr. Modi and Mr. Matti Pettay in Gujarat

Along with internationally increasing demands for ship recycling in a sustainable way for human health and the environment, possibilities of ship recycling in Finland have also been discussing for a few years. Ship recycling, shipbreaking to recycle valuable materials and to collect and process wastes and hazardous substances in accordance with tightening environmental regulations in Finland is a complex issue, which was needed to be investigated in more details.

Information of preconditions of the ship recycling in Finland has been published in the prefeasibility surveys completed in 2015: “Preconditions of ship recycling in Finland – case the Kemi port” and a related report of “A dry-dock as a part of the Kemi port”, sponsored by Digipolis – Kemi Technology Park. The reports give an overall picture of the global and European shipbreaking industry, as well as an understanding of shipbreaking potential in Finland generally.

In November 2015, a prefeasibility study related to Turku Repair Yard “Survey of the business possibilities for ship recycling in Finland” was published, sponsored by Turku Repair Yard Ltd, Machine Technology Center, Turku, and Delete Finland Oy. The current study, ”Virtual project of a ship purchased, dismantled and recycled at Turku Repair Yard” is sponsored by Turku Repair Yard Ldt, Delete Finland Oy, Pesupalvelu Hans Langh Oy and Meriaura Oy; the work has been done in cooperation with the sponsors. Tekes (Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation) has been funding the project as a part of its Arctic Seas Programme.

The current study of ship recycling conditions in Finland has provided more in- depth analyses of safe and environmentally sustainable ship dismantling, the EU requirements, and the current business environment. The study evaluates the potential of Turku Repair Yard as a ship recycling facility, purchase and dismantling of an end-of-life ship, recycling of valuable materials, waste treatment, potential support by existing maritime and recycling industry, related logistics, and ship recycling as business possibility. Along with the study, preparation of Turku Repair Yard to be listed on the European List of compliant ship breaking facilities has been proceeded.

The report gives more adequate information of the Turku Repair Yard as a shipbreaking facility, its potential and requirements. The report is focusing on the current situation and requirements in the EU, and the subsequent impacts on Turku Repair Yard. The yard is examined as a potential ship recycling facility using a real ship virtually as a case study. All the preconditions of the ship recycling in Finland have also been studied.

The conclusion of the study is that the ship recycling at Turku Repair Yard can meet all the requirements set by the EU Regulations and the Finnish authorities as well as technical and commercial demands. The yard fulfills all preconditions to become a leading ship recycling facility in Europe. A more detailed analysis will be done by a demonstration case, recycling a real end-of life ship, which will be the second part of the Ship Recycling in Finland project.

Ship being disassembled
Alang, Shreeram shipyard, 2014

Executive Summary of the Prefeasibility study

Ships at the end of their lifespan are a valuable source of recycling raw materials; all all large ocean-going ships are dismantled in South Asia, China or Turkey. However, just a small part of the end-of-life vessels globally are recycled safely in terms of human health and the environment.

According to the EU Regulation, European ship-owners will only be permitted to recycle their vessels in the yards, which are listed on ‘European List’ among those compliant facilities that meet the requirements, are certified and inspected. The European Ship Recycling Regulation entered into force on 30th of December, 2013 and it will be completely authorized between 2016 and 2019. The first version of the European List was published in December 2016.

With tightening requirements and changing approach worldwide, as well as an escalating number of end-of-life vessels, there is an increasing need for a sustainable ship recycling also in Europe. In Finland, Turku Repair Yard as a shipbreaking facility appears to fulfill all foreseeable requirements for such an industry. The yard can operate on a green industry basis, using clean-tech operations, and recycle larger ships than is currently made or even possible in the European shipbreaking yards on a permanent basis. It also results in the fact that the yard becoming environmentally number one in the world ship-breaking industry.

This again will give it an outstanding advantage in the global markets.

Turku ship repair yard
Turku Repair Yard, a large tanker (250 m) and a passenger ferry side-by-side

To acquire adequate information similar to all participants of the project, an existing ship, a 30-year old MS “Mirva” has been recycled virtually, basically as a desktop work. The ship has basically given all relevant information and appropriate answers to questions of a complex chain of ship recycling at Turku Repair Yard. In addition to the ship itself, more information of the possibilities and challenges of recycling, such as dismantling techniques, material flows, and commercial targets have been acquired.

The recycling work include following phases:

  • Washing the ship
  • Safe removal and disposal of hazardous substances and dismantling of interior
  • Removal of deck structures
  • Removal of engines and marine equipment
  • Cutting a hull and steel constructions of the ship into steel blocks
  • Sorting of materials mechanically in the dry-dock and lifting ashore by the dock
  • Sorting out recycling materials and wastes on a storage plot
  • Transport of wastes for further treatment and land-fills
  • Transport of recycling materials for further treatment or to end-users
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