Demystifying Ship Recycling - Issue 06

24 Dec 2020
Author: Mr. Kiran Thorat & Dr. Anand Hiremath

Cleaning of oil stained sections at HKC compliant recycling facilities. 

Ships delivered to HKC compliant recycling yards are cut as per the ship-specific Ship Recycling Plan. Any type of ship has various tanks to store lube oils, fuel oils, sludge, and bilge water. The main engine and aux engine crankcases contain lube oils. Fuel oils and lube oils are recovered and resold in the local market. Sludge and bilge water are disposed of as per the Gujarat Enviro Protection Infra Limited (GEPIL) guidelines. The empty tank bottoms are spread with the sand to absorb any uncleaned oil, and the oily sand is disposed of at landfills. 

Sections of these tanks contain oil stains. The onboard oily block is cleaned as practicable as possible along the cutting line, and then the cut block is lifted directly from the vessel using crawler cranes and placed on an oily block cleaning zone. The HSE officer conducts a cleanliness inspection before lifting the block from the vessel and cleaning the block at the oily block cleaning zone. Photographic evidence of before and after the cleaning of blocks is maintained at the recycling facility. The cleaned block is moved to the cutting area (secondary or tertiary) for further cutting into truck loadable sizes of steel plates. 


The oily block cleaning area has an impermeable floor and drainage system. Chemical detergents are applied to the oily blocks, and blocks are washed with the water. The wash water is collected via a drainage system in the underground tank. 

Collected wash water contains chemical detergent and oil, therefore it is disposed of in GEPIL.  GEPIL has adequate infrastructure to treat the oily bilge water.  

While recycling oil tankers, it is a regular practice to clean oil-stained steel sections at designated cleaning zones to make them oil-free. Similarly, sections of the main engine and aux engine crankcases are cleaned at oily block cleaning zones.

Recycling facilities are equipped with oil spill containment kits. These kits have an adequate inventory of oil spill containment materials such as oil absorbent pads, sawdust, boom, shovels, oil-resistant gloves, disposable overalls, waste bags, etc.

SOPs are developed and regular drills are conducted at recycling facilities to contain oil spills. HKC compliant yards contain the equipment and facilities to protect the soil from oil contamination because of the oil-stained steel sections. 

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Ship Recycling Team

About Author

Kiran Thorat is a Trader at GMS, where he looks after sustainable ship recycling projects. Kiran believes that Sustainable Recycling is an integral part of Sustainable Shipping and a notable example of a circular economy. He holds a Bachelor's Degree from the Marine Engineering and Research Institute (DMET), India, and a Master's Degree in Energy, Trade, and Finance from Cass Business School, London.

Dr. Anand M. Hiremath is a Civil Engineer and holds a Master's Degree in Environmental Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT Guwahati), India. He was awarded Doctorate Degree in the year 2016 for his research work on Ship Recycling by the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay), India. In addition, he has a diploma in Industrial safety, is a qualified lead auditor for ISO 9k, 14k and 18k. Dr. Hiremath published the first practical handbook on ship recycling, entitled: "The Green Handbook: A Practical Checklist to Monitor the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships" which highlights the procedures the GMS RSRP follows to help both Ship and Yard Owners recycle a vessel in an environmentally-friendly manner. He is the Chief Sustainability Officer of GMS.

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Ship Recycling Team