Ships Roll in on the Dock of the Bay

Swansea Drydocks has had a £4m facelift to turn it into a world-class ship repair and recycling facility that is setting the standard for Europe and beyond. Lucinda Hall, principal consultant at Enzygo, takes a tour.

Recycling in the maritime shipping sector is centuries old. The fabric of a ship, whether constructed of wood a century ago or of steel today, has always had considerable value. The shipping industry is well ahead of other industries in reusing up to 98% of a ship building material by weight.

But even if ship recycling has been efficient in providing a ready supply of steel and other metals for reuse, there has been a cost in terms of lives lost and local environmental impact. There is a huge disparity between nations on what is and is not allowed – no more so than that highlighted by the permit recently granted to Wale’s first authorised ship dismantling facility in Swansea.

Swansea Drydocks has been a ship repair yard since the early 20th century, when Swansea was one of the UK’s major ports for the trade of coal, iron, copper and tinplate. The drydocks are in the hands of the Dunn facility which, up until 2011, ran the metal recycler Dunn brothers.

The company owned seven recycling centres across the UK, and was renowned for investment in technology and practices, twice winning the Queen’s Award for Enterprise. But the family had its eyes set on a greater challenge. In May 2011, the recycling business was sold and they acquired Swansea Drydocks, with a view to using their knowledge of scrap metal recycling to move into ship dismantling.

The drydocks has a long history of being used for scrapping marine vessels, and the aim was to re-establish these operations by creating the first current shipbreaking facility in Wales. The site was upgraded with a £4m investment, and would accept up to 150 tonnes a year of end-of-life hazardous and non-hazardous waste vessels.

Since the plan fell within the scope of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010, an Environmental Permit was required from the required from the Environment Agency Wales (EAW), now Natural Resources Wales (NRW), so that operations could start…

Read the full article from Materials Recycling World