Demystifying Ship Recycling - Issue 19
Used and unused spare parts recovered during ship recycling
Ships run round the clock transporting raw commodities and finished goods across the continents. Even in pandemic times, when the entire world was at a standstill, ships ran and kept global supplies uninterrupted. Did we ever wonder who keeps these ships moving? The answer is simple and straightforward: the machinery installed on ships and the seafarers who operate them.
An oil tanker takes around 18 days to sail from a load port in Arabian Gulf to a Far East discharge port. It simply means the Main Engine and other auxiliary machinery that started operating when the vessel is in Arabian Gulf will continuously run for the remaining 18 days to arrive in the Far East.
Machinery parts are subjected to have wear & tear and breakdowns because of nonstop operation. For the smooth functioning of this machinery, it is critical to carry out regular planned maintenance. Ships are supplied with adequate spare parts throughout her life for conducting planned maintenance and troubleshooting. These spare parts are periodically used to replace old used spares. Used spares are recovered and often reconditioned for reuse.
It is mandatory for ships to maintain an adequate inventory of critical spare parts. When ships complete their useful life, they are sent for recycling. The vessels delivered for recycling often carry used and unused spares. Ship recycling facilities recover these spares and sell them in the secondhand market. There are clusters of at least 700 shops along the road leading to Alang beach, India. These shops buy the recovered spares and stock them at the warehouse. Similar spares clusters are found in Chittagong, Bangladesh.
The secondhand market covers all types of spares for the machinery used onboard vessels. Some vendors stock only specific types of spares. It is usual to find vendors who stock and sell only anchor and anchor chains. Some vendors stock the spare parts for the Main Engine, such as piston crowns, piston rings, liners, etc.
In fact, some vendors stock critical spares for pneumatic and hydraulic systems. It is common to see a warehouse with only lathe machines and emergency generators storage.
It is easy to discover the spares for machinery at Alang, whose manufacturing is stopped by the original makers. Some of these spares are critical and need to be connected at short notice.
Recovery, resale, and reuse of the spares from recycled vessels is the true example of the Circular Economy. The spares not only generate value but also serve the ships in critical moments.