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Shipwrecks and the Recycling of Ships

Shipwrecks are unavoidable "evil" if you may. Every ship found at the bottom of the ocean is nothing less than an economic catastrophe. Tons of steel, years of hard work and dedication and the loads on that ship, all that lost for good. The intentions of this here post are to simply give you an idea of the amount of metal and steel buried deep underwater, never to be extracted.To make the value of those resources more understandable we are about to pick some of the biggest ships resting on the shores of England.

Some of the biggest Royal Navy ships on the ocean bottom on England costs

Map of Sunken Ships on Shores of UK

HMS Montagu - Displacement : 15, 000 tons
HMS Scylla - Displacement : 2,500 tons
HMS Empress of India - Displacement : 14,380 tons
HMS Falmouth - Displacement : 5,275 tons
HMS Acheron - Displacement: 1,350 tons
HMS Bulwark - Displacement: 15,613
HMS Ascot - Displacement: 810 tons
HMS Ariadne - Displacement: 11,000 tons
HMS Exmoor - Displacement: 1,000 tons
HMS Dundalk - Displacement: 800 tons

Total: 67728 tons

All of those ships are part of the Royal Navy. The "Displacement" is a value used to represent the weight of the ship, calculating the amount of water pushed away by the ship's carcass. This number standing here as "Total" is just a number for us. A large one, but still just a number. Let us make that number a bit more understandable.

If all that mass could be recycled

Take the weight of an average Mini (1150 kg.) Now it turns out that the tons of steel we have underwater could be recycled into around fifty-nine vehicles. This is not a number that gets your attention (59). Let us convert this weight into something that we use each day.

And again we have to highlight that those are not all of the ships! The vessels listed here are just a drop in the ocean.

Recycling of a Ship

 Ship pulled on the beach with a recycle logo

How do you actually, recycle a ship. Well, there are a couple of methods, ship breaking and ship sinking. Yes, sinking the ship actually turns out to be a way to recycle it. The main goal is to dispose of the vessel, of course. That will be of a benefit at the endpoint, right. By sinking the ship near the shore you create a rift. The point of the rift is to create a hard surface for sea life to stick to. Corals and different crabs turn the shipwreck into their home and soon after fishes come for food and shelter. On top of that, you get a lovely location of interest for divers. A win-win situation right. This type of recycling is common for military ships, and some listed above are truly sunk as a target practice and are now forever serving as a man-made rift.

Ship breaking, on the other hand, is a far more understandable and acceptable way of recycling. The vessels are being pulled on a beach and stripped of all the steel plates they can offer. This way all the metals, especially steel, are being obtained and transformed into other products. That way the demand of mined iron ore is lower so is the energy consumed by the process of producing steel for manufacturing. The process is known as ship demolition or ship dismantling. But in essence, it is nothing than recycling.Those are the ways of ship disposal common today and the ones that are more environmentally friendly. However, in some cases, the process may cost greatly to certain companies.

Ship Recycling Methods That Are Not Common Today


A "Hulking" ship is one that is no longer capable of going anywhere, it is being stripped of all motors and equipment and left floating above. Those ships were used for training new sailors or even as a prison. The Royal Navy used this kind of imprisonment because it is hard to leave a ship undetected and most of the sailors back then were not even able to swim. Today this method is rarely used. On rare occasions, a hulked ship may be used as a floating crane. A similar way of reusing ships is leaving it simply for the use of a dry dock, a floating storage.

Ship disposal crimes

Sinking ship

Due to the large amounts of toxic compounds and materials present in the carcass of a vessel, the cost of legally sinking a ship could be a considerable amount. In the past, some companies tried to illegally sink their ships to save some profit on top. This leads to a point where ships near the end of their lifespan are being tracked all the time as a preventing measure.

And when taking in mind the large impact that a random sinking of a ship could have on the environment, we have to agree that this act could be charged with a sentence not only a large fee.

Disposing of metals and products of mass production should be a process that has the environment as a number one priority. You cannot simply dispose of a TV or washing machine just like your ordinary rubbish. The compounds inside and the materials used need to be recycled and stored, following certain laws and regulations presented by the government. And there are laws for electronic waste disposal that implies even for your toaster at home, neither to say a full-sized ship.


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