Overview of ships broken up in 2007

24 Jan 2008

For the 2nd consecutive year, Robin des Bois has been studying in detail the reality of the ship breaking market. The mobilisation and the analysis of about thirty diverse and specialised bibliographical sources made it possible to establish an inventory of the vessels sent to be demolished in 2007. In 2006, Robin des Bois tallied 293 vessels sold for demolition. In 2007, we listed 288 of them. If this decline in demolished vessels is modest (-2%), it is a little more significant with regard to the total weight of recycled metals: 1.7 million ton in 2007 against 1.9 million in 2006 (-10%). The situation differs however according to the category of ships considered: the number of tankers (oil tankers, chemical tankers, gas carriers) dismantled in 2007 increased by almost 30 % compared with 2006 whereas that of the bulk carriers and other general cargo ships decreased by almost 40 %; the average age of the tankers sent to demolition is 29 years, the average age for all the vessels is 31 years, the average age of bulk carriers 34 years.


Of the 288 vessels, 95 (33 %) were under a European flag or belonged to ship-owners established in the European Union or members of the European Association of Free Exchange (EFTA) or members of the principalities like Monaco. Not one of the international exchanges linking these European ship-owners to non-European demolition sites were preceded by any asbestos removal. The Secretariat of the Bale Convention did not answer our letter on December, 4th 2007 asking them to inform us about the number and the name of the ships subject to notifications relating to the export of waste as the framework of the Convention requires. The legal status of waste attached to a vessel at the end of its lifetime remains a theory. India wants to position itself as the new destination of “responsibly dismantling vessels at an interesting price” with the Supreme Court decision taken this autumn to require a preliminary cleaning of the vessels before dismantling. This new rule of the game has not slowed down the “flow” of arrivals but the procedures to get the authorisation to demolish are longer to obtain. After a period of adaptation by the ship-owners, people in charge of the ship-breaking yards and State Agencies, ship-breaking has restarted. A delegation of the IMO at Alang in January 2008 approved this possible adjustment of dismantling practices. According to the Supreme Court directives, there should be an immediate ban on the burning of any material, hazardous or non-hazardous, on the beach.

The prices proposed by Indian and especially Bangladeshi ship-breakers continued to rise until autumn. The record sale of the year was reached by the chemical tankers Acrux and Pradera bought by India for 1,250$ per ton because of the presence of stainless steel. Other factors such as the presence of large quantities of fuel in the tanks of the vessels could be contributing factors to a higher average price. The selling price reached 600$ per ton this autumn in Bangladesh which led to the creation of a cartel of ship-breakers wishing to impose a decrease in prices. The creation of the cartel blocked all purchases of ships in Bangladesh up until the end of the year. This action translated into a significant drop in prices at the end of the year (less than 500 $ per ton).

In 2007, India and Bangladesh received 81% of the vessels to be demolished. Because of the absence for 3 months of Bangladesh, India with 129 vessels (45%) was the first destination in front of Bangladesh with 105 vessels (36%), in the percentage of metal per ton to recycle the ranking is the complete opposite with 720,000t for Bangladesh and 630,000t for India. The other vessels finished their life in Pakistan (23), China (6), Turkey (6), Latvia (5), The United States (4) and Canada (1) with 9 destinations left unknown.

The ages range from 18 to 63 years. The size of the vessels demolished in 2007 is inferior to that of 2006 : 164 were less than 150m in length, 89 measured between 150 and 199 m in length and 35 more than 200m in length. The largest ship sent to be scrapped this year was the Magnolia, an old VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) Mobil 340m in length.

In 2007, the category of oil tankers, chemical tankers and gas carriers sent to be demolished is the largest with 136 vessels (i.e. 47% against 37 %°in 2006) followed by bulk carriers, general cargo ships (65 vessels i.e. 32 %). 26 reefers or fish factory ships were scrapped including 6 which were caught with illegal catches and so were 19 passengers ships of which 17 were more than 31 years old.

Of the 288 vessels sent to be broken in 2007, 118 were detained with their crew in previous years in ports world-wide and in particular in Europe for not conforming to International maritime security regulations, of which 16 tankers listed by the European Maritime Safety Agency as single hull ships banned from transporting heavy fuel since 2005 under the framework from the Erika 1 Package.

Access to the 2007 “Shipbreaking” Collection. 2 Mo


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