Ship Scrap Yards: A Place Where Ships Becomes Scrap

what is ship scrap yards and what is ship breaking process
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Like all other machines, the ship also has a lifespan. The life span of modern-day ships is 25 to 30 years. But do you know what happens after that? What happens to the ship when it retires after completing its lifespan. How does a ship die? So after completing its life span, a ship is sent to ship scrap yards, where its parts are broken and sold as scrap.

What is Ship Scrap Yards And What is Ship Breaking

What shipbreaking yards are, it becomes clear in its name, shipbreaking yards are places where retired ships are brought and broken into junk, and that junk is sold to reuse. Ship scrap yards are also known as ship graveyards, these are considered as the last designation of the ships. Ships at ship scrap yards are broken by different methods. Ship-breaking or ship demolition is a type of ship salvage that involves the breakdown of entire or significant parts of a ship, which is then sold for reuse or for the extraction of raw materials, mainly in the form of scrap. This process, which occurs in a ship scrap yard, is also known as ship dismantling, ship breaking, or ship recycling.

After a certain lifespan, it is difficult and accidentally dangerous to maneuver ships, hence they are retired. But keeping them in the same condition is just a siege of the place, so they are sent to the ship scrap yard, where the ship’s material, especially steel, is recycled through the ship-breaking process to make new products. This reduces mining of iron ore demand and reduces energy use in the steelmaking process.

The Market Of Ship Scrap Yards

The sea connects all countries, and therefore ships are in almost every country, but still, ship scrap yards are not available in every country. This is a little surprising, but there are many reasons behind this, the main one being the protection of the environment. Shipbreaking is a very large industry and is also known as a very dangerous industry. In this work, different toxic winds and toxic substances spread the environment. In many countries this work is almost banned, they sell their retired ships to other countries, where this work is mainly done.

The largest stakeholders in the worldwide ship scrapping or shipbreaking market are India, Bangladesh, China, and Pakistan, which are the global hub of ship breaking. Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard in Bangladesh, Alang in India and Gadani in Pakistan are the largest ship graveyards in the world. About 225,000 workers work in ship breaking yards in India, Bangladesh, China, and Pakistan. In these developing countries, workers are ready to do more work with less wages. In Bangladesh, recycled steel comprises 20% of the country’s needs and in India, it is about 10%.

The Ship Breaking Yards

The following yards are some of the world’s largest ship-breaking yards…

Chittagong Ship Breaking Yard, (Bangladesh)

Galloo, Ghent, formerly Van Heyghen Recycling, (Belgium)

Changjiang Ship Breaking yard, located in Jiangyin, (China)

Alang-Sosiya Ship Breaking Yard, (India)
Steel Industrials Kerala Limited, (India)

Gadani Ship Breaking Yard, (Pakistan)

Aliağa Ship Breaking Yard, (Turkey)

Able UK, Graythorpe Dock, Teesside, (United Kingdom)

Esco Marine, Brownsville, Texas, (USA)
International Shipbreaking, Brownsville, Texas, (USA)

The Technique Of Ship Breaking

The process of ship scraping begins with an auction for which the highest bidder wins the contract, although sometimes the deal is also completed directly by the agent. After completing the necessary documentation proceedings, the ship-breaking company or shipping yard receives the ship from an international broker who deals in old ships. After obtaining all types of permits, ships are gently sloped on sand-sloping beaches at high tide to access them for disassembly.

The Technique Of Ship Breaking
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Then the process of dismantling the ship begins, it takes up to three months to break a typical size cargo ship of about 40,000 tons, with 50 workers carrying out this task. The process of decommissioning in shipbreaking yards begins with the extraction of fuel and fire fighting liquid, which is sold to the business. Any reusable items such as furniture and machinery, wires – are sent to local markets or merchandise.

Sledgehammer and oxy-acetylene gas-torches are mainly used to cut steel rudders. For low cost and high profit, usually, ship scrap yard owner does not use cranes on ships. After detachment, the hull collapses is pulled by workers and bulldozers. These are then taken away from the coast and cut into small pieces in the godowns. 90% of the steel is re-rollable scrap: high-quality steel plates that are heated and reused as reinforcement bar for reinforcement, and after that remainder is transported to electric arc furnaces to be melted down into ingots for re-rolling mills. Substances that are expensive for disposal of hazardous waste are discarded on the beach or set on fire, including old batteries and half-empty cans of paint.

Health And Environmental Issues

As I mentioned above, the ship scrapping industry is large as well as quite dangerous, the workers working in it are always surrounded by life-threatening risks. Working in the ship’s scrapping yard is very difficult as well as very deadly. Most of the ships are simply run ashore in developing countries for disassembly, where asbestos, lead, polychlorinated biphenyls, and heavy metals are always a major threat to workers. Knees caused by explosive and fire smoke, mutations from falling metal, cancer and toxins are a regular occurrence disease in the industry.

Health And Environmental Issues with ship scrap yards
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Breaking the fuel tanks, without extracting flammable gas in it caused several blasts and many are injured from these kinds of explosions. In Bangladesh, a local watchdog group claims that one worker dies a week and one is injured per day on average.

Apart from the health issues of workers, Ship breaking yard industry has also become a major concern of environmental issues. And this has mostly happened in developing countries due to working with loose or unencumbered environmental laws, allowing large amounts of highly toxic material to escape into the general environment and cause serious health problems among shipbreakers, local populations, and wildlife.

Read Also: What Is Nuclear Energy And How It Produced

So this is everything about ship scrap yards and ship scrapping process. Still, if there are any questions in your mind such as what is ship scrap yards and how ship becomes scrap so you can ask us in the comments section.


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