Demystifying Ship Recycling - Issue 20

28 Apr 2021
Author: Mr. Kiran Thorat & Dr. Anand Hiremath

Pulling of ships towards the recycling yards

In major ship recycling destinations such as Turkey, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, ships are recycled at the sea-shore interface. Superannuated ships are delivered to the recycling facilities, where the hull is cut into big slices. These gigantic slices are shifted to the secondary cutting zones for the extraction of steel plates. The ship’s hull needs to be gradually pulled towards the ship recycling yard to cut further slices. Have you ever wondered how the massive hull of a ship is pulled towards the recycling facility?

Ship recyclers who recycle ships at sea-shore interfaces have developed unique techniques to pull the hull towards yards. Strategic windows are cut on the ship’s side shell on the port and starboard side. Through these openings, giant chains are passed. These chains are connected to the steel wires with the help of robust shackles and pulleys. Steel wires are connected to the heavy-duty winches. These heavy chains, shackles, and pulleys are shifted and passed through the hull openings with the help of moving cranes.

The wires used for winching operation are typically 32 mm in diameter.

Usually, any ship recycling facility has two or sets of winches. These winches are powered by diesel engines. Winches are periodically load tested. Routine maintenance is carried out on the winches and their prime movers. Protective guards cover winches to guard the operator in case the wire snaps.

The ship’s hull is pulled towards the recycling yard during high tide because the aft part of the hull gets partially lifted due to buoyancy and significantly lessens the load on the winches. Before pulling operation, adjacent recycling facilities are alerted beforehand. Throughout this critical operation, none of the other tasks are allowed in the yard. 

Following the winching operation, the steel wire ropes are coiled and stored in the trays adjacent to the winches. Qualified inspectors regularly inspect the wires for any kinks, broken strands, corrosion, and any other defects. It helps to assess the real condition of the wires and the need for replacement. 

With the use of heavy-lift capacity cranes with more extended booms, larger slices are cut and lifted from the ship’s hull and kept on the secondary cutting zones, minimizing the use of winches to pull the hull.

The process of pulling the hull is periodic and needs to be conducted with absolute care and precautions. Few recycling facilities use the load cells to monitor the load applied on the wires as they have understood the significance of monitoring load. And they have developed the Standard Operating Process to execute these critical tasks seamlessly without any incident and accident. 

Contact Us

Ship Recycling Team

About Author

Kiran Thorat is a Sustainable Ship & Offshore Recycling Executive 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 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.

Contact Us

Ship Recycling Team