Shipbreaking comes to be known for many people in recent years since more and more ships become old and the marine equipments on board the ships are getting old too. It may cost too much to repair the old ship which seems to be uneconomical, under such circumstances the shipbreaking or ship demolition industry finds its opportunities and then becomes popular.
Shipbreaking involves a great variety of works such as the dismantling of hull and decorations in the cabin rooms. There are so many marine equipments installed onboard a ship, such as the oil separators, marine water makers, diesel engines and thrusters and so on, these equipments are old but still function, though some failures may happen often times. You cannot just dismantle them off the ship without any care that would be disasters because you would make them stop running anymore. Dismantling of a ship need skilled workers, you would otherwise lose much more money by using incompetent men to do this kind of job, they will sometimes ruin an diesel engine, I mean, the one that initially cost you millions of dollars, or they will cut off your steel plates into unnecessary small pieces.
Ship breaking or ship demolition industry gains a great popularity in developing countries, because the law here concerning the impacts on both environment and workers are lax. During the process of ship breaking, many poisoning materials will be released to the environment and will have very bad impact on the human beings, such as asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyls, leads, heavy metals and so on. There will also be noisy sound during the dismantling of ship, thus workers working under such bad circumstances will suffer a lot, as well as the potentially harms the jobs will impact upon them in the long term.
Ship breaking seems to be easy for some shipyards to carry out, but sophisticated workers and appropriate protection towards workers must be assured thus shipbreaking workers, shipyards and shipowners can be able to maximize their interests to a great extent.
Sometimes, the ship getting old is not the only reason why the ship needs to be dismantled; some new build ships may also suffer a fate like that. I had heard of that a ship owner unfortunately went to bankruptcy thus the pathetic baby ship has to be dismantled just like some used ships. See the pictures below. A 11000 DWT chemical carrier, it was actually not yet an entire ship but few large sub-hull, shipowner of this ship went out of cash, that is why the new hull had been dismantled like this.
It was brand new sub-hull, but had been dismantled due to the bankruptcy of the shipowner. I’ve also came across such case that the shipowner abandoned the ship they had invested a good sum of money on, but lucky for it, we took over the ship and construction completed last year!
Source: Ship Oil Rig. 12 August 2012.