Getting better at marine recycling
The Dutch recycling expert Sea2Cradle has come a long way since it was founded back in 2011. So far it has recycled over 100 floating structures using its partner shipbreaking yards.
Sea2Cradle provides a hassle-free way for ship owners and port operators to handle the recycling of ships and floating structures and handles everything from making a ship recycling plan and finding a buyer, to supervising the dismantling and recycling at the demolition yard.
Above all, it works to ensure that the entire process meets the highest standards of health, safety and the environment, following the standards of the IMO, Hong Kong Convention and the anticipated EU regulation on ship recycling.
The company has more than played its part to impart environmental responsibility into the shipping community since its inception. It has no doubt helped to safeguard some ships from being sold to the highest bidder which sometimes end up on Asian beaches, where they are scrapped for as little money as possible.
Tom Peter Blankestijn, Sea2Cradle, told GreenPort: “Ship owners and port authorities may have sold this material in the past. But new legislation means that they need to take more control over their environmental responsibility. If you want to be a green port you have to adapt to this new regulation."
The company has been working hard to expand its market. This year it handled a dry dock recycling project at the Port of San Francisco in the US.
The seventy year old San Francisco Dry Dock #1 had to be placed on the special heavy lift vessel MV Tern and transported to the recycling yard in Zhousan, China. But because of the rather precarious condition of the bottom of the dock, additional measures were taken to ensure the workers could operate in a safe and healthy manner.
A special team put the hazardous materials into bags that were inspected by the Sea2Cradle site team and stored in the hazardous material warehouse for further handling. Despite the condition of the dry dock, the process of pre-cutting and offloading of blocks went very smoothly and took just six weeks to complete.
Mr Blankestijn said: “All ports have obsolete material which may have been created by themselves or by abandonment which needs to be dealt with in a green manner. They also have their own equipment, tug boats, supply boats and quay side equipment which all have life spans so they need to have a programme of disposal which we can help with."
Sea2Cradle has been undertaking more and more work on jack-up barges, oil rigs and buoys and beacons, which all have hazardous materials (including electronics) which need to be disposed of. It's also finding a ready market with LNG carriers because there is a lot of old tonnage which needs to be phased out.
As well as its partner shipbreaking yards in China, the company has been working with breakers in Turkey and in Belgium. The breaking yard at Ghent is an interesting case because it is located in an urban environment proving that recycling is no more dangerous to the community than undertaking newbuild work or shiprepair, if done properly. Mr Blankestijn certainly sees no stumbling blocks to undertaking more recycling in urban areas in the future, and thinks that as the industry wises up to recycling, more will be conducted on a local scale.
The only trouble is that, although there is plenty enough capacity at shipyards for recycling, regulation needs to catch up to encourage recyclers to make sure that waste is disposed of correctly.