Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 24, Issue 33, pp 25741–25774 | Cite as

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

  • Damien A. DevaultEmail author
  • Briac Beilvert
  • Peter Winterton
4th International Symposium on Environmental Biotechnology and Engineering-2014


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.


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

Supplementary material

11356_2016_6925_MOESM1_ESM.docx (3.9 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 3979 kb)
11356_2016_6925_MOESM2_ESM.docx (8.9 mb)
ESM 2 (DOCX 9108 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Damien A. Devault
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Briac Beilvert
    • 3
  • Peter Winterton
    • 4
  1. 1.Ecologie Systématique Evolution, Univ. Paris-Sud, CNRS, Agroparistech, Université Paris-SaclayParisFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire Matériaux et Molécules en Milieu Agressif, UA - UMR ECOFOG,DSI, Campus Universitaire de Schoelcher, 97275SchoelcherFrance
  3. 3.CDMO, Université de Nantes, Chemin la Censive du TertreNantes cedex 3France
  4. 4.Département Langues et GestionUniversité Toulouse III – Paul SabatierToulouse cedex 09France

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