The Texas shipbreaking industry recently passed a major milestone by completing the recycling of the first EU vessel to meet stringent European Union standards and positioning International Shipbreaking’s Brownsville operation as an alternative in the recycling industry. Increasing environmental regulations are expected to accelerate the pace of ship retirements over the next few years, but EU shipowners have mostly been restricted to Turkish shipyards or forced to work with intermediaries who take measures to circumvent EU ship disposal regulations.
“The success of the project at the ISL shipyard opens a new frontier in efforts to reduce the number of end-of-life ships that are dismantled in crude and often very dangerous conditions on beaches in South Asia,” according to the leaders. of the EMR group, the parent company of ISL. They noted that until recently more than 90% of merchant ships were dismantled in Southeast Asia, even though shipyards had not obtained EU accreditation. Currently, the major accredited breakers are in Turkey, although several smaller operators are also looking to enter the market.
“There are still too many ships around the world that end up being recycled in dangerous and environmentally harmful yards on the other side of the world. By continuing to raise our standards, ISL shows ship owners responsible ships that there is a better way to do business,” said Chris Green, Senior Director of ISL.
Last year, ISL invested in making its Brownsville, Texas site compliant with EU regulations making it available to EU shipowners and vessels flying the flag of EU member states that need to be dismantled in accredited demolition yards.
The first ship to take advantage of the new option was the MT Wolverine, a chemical tanker built in 2006 by Aker Tulcea in Romania and operated under the Norwegian flag. The 518-foot-long ship, which had a carrying capacity of 16,000 tons, arrived at the Texas recycling yard in January 2021 and was one of 28 projects undertaken by the company over the past year.
EU regulations set standards for environmental, health and safety compliance. Part of the requirements is that ships must be fully recycled on hard surfaces to prevent pollutants such as chemicals from paints from contaminating soil and water. Yards are also required to maximize material recycling and properly manage all materials from ships.
According to ISL, the MT Wolverine The recycling project has been undertaken in full compliance with EU regulations, with all waste removed from the tanker being disposed of in accordance with EU requirements. Through innovative and sustainable recycling processes, ISL says it has been able to recycle 97% of materials removed from MT Wolverine.
“By investing $30 million in the latest technology, equipment and infrastructure, our company has become the first in the United States to be able to recycle ships to an EU SSR compliant level. MT Wolverine shows that this effort and commitment is paying off,” Green noted.
ISL has the capability to safely moor and recycle vessels over 1,200 feet long and 158 feet wide. The company was established in 1995 and since then has managed over 100 vessels in its 43-acre yard that can accommodate up to nine vessels at a time. ISL is best known for providing refresher service to the US Navy. The company was recently contracted to recycle famous aircraft carriers Falcon kitten and John F Kennedy as well as previously carried out recycling operations for Navy ships including Constellation, Tidyand Independence. With the new EU compliant operation, the facility is aiming for additional work for the commercial sector.