*Former Maritime Administrator Chip Jaenichen recently visited Brownsville, TX, a city that dominates the U.S. ship-recycling industry. Today, we share his comments on the importance of the industry the area as well as the Maritime Administration’s continuing efforts to dispose of excess government owned vessels in an environmentally responsible manner.
In early December we had the distinct privilege of participating in the 3rd Annual Maritime Administration ship recycling town hall meeting in Brownsville, Texas. The venue brought together federal ship disposal programs, government safety and environmental agencies and domestic ship recycling industry representatives with direct involvement in the disposal of U.S. Government-owned obsolete ships into a forum where the current issues impacting federal agencies and ship recycling industry are addressed and discussed.
MARAD provided to the domestic recycling industry an overview of existing and future planning for federal ship recycling activities, including ship disposal forecasts, vessel downgrades for disposal, potential budgetary impacts and safety and environmental concerns. The meeting offered an opportunity to listen to industry concerns, issues and suggestions related to ship disposal activities, including the impact of scrap steel prices, future price trends, vessel disposal solicitations and safety and environmental issues.
Domestic ship recyclers provide an important and invaluable industrial base for the disposal of obsolete Government owned vessels. Consider the following:
- Ship recycling is the most cost effective and expeditious ship disposal method and has significantly contributed to the disposal of approximately 219 obsolete MARAD ships since2001.
- Obsolete vessels are recycled in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency , Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state and local laws and regulations, which helps to protect the environment and worker health and safety.
- Recycling assists federal agencies in protecting the environment of fleet anchorages by removing obsolete ships before they become an environmental liability.
- Ship recycling provides good jobs to local workers and specialty remediation companies and contributes to the success of the local economies in Brownsville, Texas, Amelia, La., and New Orleans.
Following the town hall, representatives from federal agencies and the state of Texas toured the recycling facilities located within the Port of Brownsville and offered insights into the impact of worldwide and domestic scrap metal prices in relation to each recycler’s strategy for acquisition of obsolete government and commercial vessels for dismantlement, facility improvements to continually gain production efficiencies and reduce costs, adherence to safety and environmental practices and the constant juggling of the myriad variables that are factored into estimating future scrap steel pricing when tendering offers for recycling projects. Visible within the ship recycling facilities were federal and commercial barges and ships and oil rigs all in various stages of dismantlement, which attests to the diversification of recycling projects the industry has undertaken.
Domestic ship recycling is a dynamic industry that provides an important service in disposing of obsolete U.S. Government and commercial vessels. The town hall meeting and ship recycling facility tours provide ongoing opportunity to forge better partnerships and understanding with regard to the impacts of the scrap steel markets, business forecasting and focus on protecting workers and the environment. These types of industry forums are essential to MARAD making a positive contribution within the maritime community. We want to personally thank the entire domestic recycling community, the Port of Brownsville and our federal partners for working together to make these town hall meetings a success.
Source: transportation.gov. 18 January 2017https://www.transportation.gov/fastlane/marad-hosts-ship-recycling-forum