The threshold of 1,000 vessels is reached

21 Jan 2010

Global statement 2009 of vessels sent to demolition :


For four years, Robin des Bois has been studying the demolition market via the mobilisation and the analysis of over thirty different bibliographical sources. Robin des Bois counted 293 vessels sold for demolition in 2006, 288 in 2007 and 456 in 2008. In 2009, 1,006 vessels have left the waters, representing more than twice the 2008 total and three times the 2006 total. The total weight of recycled metal reached more than 8.2 million tons, five times the total amount of 2006.

During this record year the pace of vessels leaving the oceans during the summer months has barely slowed down. The worldwide financial crisis weighed considerably on trade exchange; big ship owners have massively sent for demolition their oldest ships to adapt to the dropping of freight rates and to draw benefits from their recent ships. At the end of the year, idle container ships were still numbering around 700. The ship owner associations believe it would be better to eliminate 25% of the world fleet. Regardless the boom in the number of vessels proposed to demolition, the prices offered by Asian shipyards have noticeably progressed, from 200 $ US per ton in the beginning of the year to almost 300 $ US in December.

In 2009 India is, for the second consecutive year the number one destination for demolition with a total of 435 vessels (43%). Bangladesh comes second with 214 vessels (21%) yet closely followed by China with 173 vessels (17%). China ends up as the year’s winner with a record influx of vessels originating from Chinese as well as Japanese and European ship owners sensitive to the call of “green dismantling”. The demolition prices proposed by the Chinese shipyards were pulled up by the picking up of steel demand in China. Other vessels ended their lives in Pakistan (87) and in Turkey (42). The American Maritime Administration has dismantled 15 vessels from their reserve fleet this year in Texan and Virginian shipyards and the demolition of the oldest among them ended up costing the government up to 409 $ US per ton.

Out of the 1,006 vessels, 409 (41%) were under a European flag or belonged to ship owners established in the European Union or in the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

The world’s largest tanker and vessel ULCC (Ultra Large Crude Carrier) the Knock Nevis was sent to be scrapped as well as about twenty VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier). Among the vessels demolished in 2009, 173 (38%) were less than 150 m in length, 161 (35%) measure between 150 and 199 m, and 122 (27%) were longer than 200 m. The ages range between 17 and 105 years. The average age is 30.

In 2009, the category of tankers, including chemical tankers and gas tankers, is no longer the first one; they downgraded to fourth place and this year they only represent 18% of the vessels totalling 180 units, compared to 33% in 2008 and 50% during the previous years. 63% of the vessels demolished are bulk carriers (22%), general cargo carriers (22%), or container ships (19%). 73 car carriers (7%) were also scrapped.

Good news: The number of sub-standard vessels sent to be demolished is still increasing. Out of 1,006 vessels, 576 (58%) were detained with their crew in previous years in ports worldwide particularly in Europe for not conforming to International security rules. Port State controls are pushing vessels in bad condition to be withdrawn.


Ship-breaking # 18





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