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Ship breaking or scuttling? A review of environmental, economic and forensic issues for decision support

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Abstract

In a globalized world, the world trade fleet plays a pivotal role in limiting transport costs. But, the management of obsolete ships is an acute problem, with most Ship Recycling Facilities (SRF) situated in developing countries. They are renowned for their controversial work and safety conditions and their environmental impact. Paradoxically, dismantlement is paid for by the shipowners in accordance with international conventions therefore it is more profitable for them to sell off ships destined for scrapping. Scuttling, the alternative to scrapping, is assessed in the present review to compare the cost/benefit ratios of the two approaches. Although scrapping provides employment and raw materials – but with environmental, health and safety costs – scuttling provides fisheries and diving tourism opportunities but needs appropriate management to avoid organic and metal pollution, introduction of invasive species and exacerbation of coastal erosion. It is also limited by appropriate bottom depth, ship type and number. The present review inventories the environmental, health, safety, economic, and forensic aspects of each alternative.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    HMS stands for Heavy Melting Steel corresponding to wrought iron and/or steel scrap 1/4 inch and over in thickness with individual pieces not over 60 x 24 inches (charging box size) prepared in a manner to insure compact charging. www.isri.org/docs/default-source/commodities/specsupdatesept2013.pdf?sfvrsn=2).

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Devault, D.A., Beilvert, B. & Winterton, P. Ship breaking or scuttling? A review of environmental, economic and forensic issues for decision support. Environ Sci Pollut Res 24, 25741–25774 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-016-6925-5

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Keywords

  • Ship Recycling Facilities
  • Wrecks
  • Artificial reef
  • Ship recycling
  • Shipbreaking
  • Tourism
  • Diving
  • Working conditions