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SHIPDISMANTL — Result In Brief

Project ID: 12561
Funded under: FP6-SUSTDEV
Country: Greece

Greening the ship dismantling industry

The dismantling of several hundred ships every year is a risky venture for workers and the environment. Now, new research in this area could make it safer and less expensive at the same time.
Greening the ship dismantling industry
Shipping is an integral part of commerce and tourism in Europe and has played an important role in the history and development of many of its Member States. Yet ships don't last forever, on average just 20 to 25 years. What happens when a vessel reaches the end of its service life? The answer is dismantling and recycling. The problem is that older ships often contain toxic materials, ranging from asbestos to lead to harmful chemical substances.

in order to protect the environment and to safeguard the health of those dismantling the ships, a project titled 'Cost effective and environmentally sound dismantling of obsolete vessels' (Shipdismantl) was funded by the EU. The collaboration included participants from the EU as well as Turkey and India, two of the leading countries where ship dismantling takes place.

the danger workers face is that they often don't know which parts of the ship harbour hazardous materials until it's too late. Delivering this information in an organised manner using technological aids such as decision support systems was an important Shipdismantl objective.

the solution is a model inventory of hazardous materials on board. Essentially, it is a list detailing the exact type, location and distinguishing features of all potentially dangerous substances on the vessel. Armed with this inventory, the dismantling crews can better manage the risks to themselves and the environment that these materials pose.

what remains to be resolved is who has the responsibility for constructing and maintaining the inventory. A discussion is currently taking place amongst the various stakeholders. The legislation that will follow will mark the beginning of a new era of greener, safer ship recycling.

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