Prepared by the Secretariat of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform
24 July 2013 - Whilst the vast majority of end-of-life ships are sent for breaking in substandard yards in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, European ship recyclers still attract business by offering clean and safe alternatives to those ship owners who refuse to beach their vessels in developing countries. On 19 July 2013, the NGO Shipbreaking Platform secretariat visited Fornæs, a Danish ship recycling yard that was renovated this year. The yard is located in the port of Grenaa on the eastern side of Denmark’s main island.
Fornæs, which recycled 22 end-of-life vessels in 2012, invested 3 million EUR to build a new slipway with a wastewater collection system embedded into it. Thanks to the newly installed system, the residues leaking from the ships (wastewater, oil, etc.) during the cutting process and which cannot be released into the port of Grenaa are collected into an oil and water separation system (OWS) with a capacity of 80,000 liters. The system is closed automatically in case seawater is detected, so that water from the port does not mix with the wastewater collected from the rain and from the cutting of the ship.
According to Fornæs manager Keld Kokholm, hazardous materials which are embedded within end-of-life ships’ structure are taken off whilst the ships are still in water. The marine equipment, including the engine, is also removed. The hazardous materials are handed over to a private company certified to manage these materials, including asbestos. Later, the empty hulls of the ships are pulled onto the newly renovated slipway where they are then dismantled.
While the maximum steel recovered from end-of-life ships so far has been 25,000 tons, Fornæs now expects to reach 40,000 tons by the end of 2014. The steel recovered from the ships is sold to Stena Recycling, a Swedish company that has a branch in Grenaa.
The Danish environmental agency is responsible for ensuring the yard operates according to national standards.
Nine end-of-life ships are now awaiting recycling, amongst which the Finnish ferry “RG1” and the offshore vessel “Clwyd Supporter”, which was sold by an American oil company. Last year, the yard dismantled amongst others the “Topas”, a German-owned container ship. The highest price the yard could offer per ton to the owner in 2013 was 210 EUR, whilst the lowest price was 135 EUR, Keld Kokholm said.
Whilst Fornæs is one of Europe’s biggest ship recycling yards, another two ship recycling yards are located in Denmark: Smedegaarden, in Esbjerg on the western coast of Jutland in Denmark, and Jatob, located in Frederikshavn, making it one of the major ship recycling countries in the EU.
(Below: Keld Kokholm (left), manager and Peter Niemann (right), director at Fornaes)