Case: Sustainable ship dismantling taken to the next level in Mexico
When the need arose for sustainable dismantling of three cutter suction dredgers in Mexico, Boskalis found local yard that was willing to change its working methods to meet Boskalis’ requirements.
When a decision is made to dismantle equipment, Boskalis takes great care to ensure the yard and scrapping proces comply with international environmental requirements. In fact, Boskalis goes beyond simple compliance. For that reason Boskalis has been recognized by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform as an industry leader.
The global presence of Boskalis means the company needs dismantling alternatives in various regions worldwide. Although it has been suggested that old ships should be returned to specific yards for scrapping, this is not always a practical, financially feasible or an environmentally sound alternative. Moving non-self-propelled vessels from the west coast of Mexico to Europe is simply not a viable alternative due to the transportation costs and associated carbon emissions.
Creating a sustainable dismantling yard in Mexico
As a result, when Boskalis was faced with the scrapping of three old cutter suction dredgers on the west coast of Mexico, the search.was on for a suitable facility. It soon became apparent that.there were no suitable yards on the Pacific coast of the American continent, ready to dismantle a ship in a sustainable way in line with the Hong Kong Convention and Boskalis standards. The dilemma was shared with the NGO Shipbreaking Platform, and it was decided that Boskalis would seek a yard that had the potential to become a compliant facility. After visiting several possible yards, the ISP/Amaya Curiel yard, located in Ensenada on the Baja peninsula, was chosen by Boskalis’ local experts.
Roberto Curiel, owner, (ISP/Amaya Curiel): “Our yard was only two years old when we were approached by Boskalis in 2013 to dismantle their vessels. We were interested in new opportunities and were willing to make improvements. The first prerequisite for Boskalis was that the yard had to have a large hard surface and that we already had, a concrete dry dock for repairs. The second requirement was that the yard had to be willing to allow Boskalis experts to supervise the dismantling process.”
An independent audit was instructed by Boskalis and was carried out by classi.cation society Germanischer Lloyd. Subsequently, in 2014 the pilot project to dismantle the Para and the Mercurius was carried out. Based on the lessons learned from these two vessels, the dismantling procedures were further improved.
In December 2014, during the scrapping of the cutter suction dredger Amstel, Merijn Hougee, board member of NGO Shipbreaking Platform visited the yard with representatives from Boskalis and met with Roberto Curiel (owner of the yard) and representatives of the University of Baja California.
Alberto Prado, Fleet Manager at Boskalis explains: “A thorough preparation of a vessel is critical to sustainable dismantling. No one knows our equipment better than Boskalis and by sharing the know-how we contribute to the success of the dismantling. As a standard policy, we make an Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) on all vessels. In the case of the Amstel, we also decided to remove hazardous materials ourselves and cleaned all the oil and fuel tanks before the ship was towed to Ensenada. We also removed parts from the vessel that could be reused on other ships within the Boskalis fleet. Once the ship was in dock, we had two of our own technical superintendents on site to monitor the progress. During this time, we made suggestions on how the dismantling could be improved which frequently was of a procedural nature.”
Roberto: “Boskalis wanted third party certification of the work. Although we are used to working with certification from local authorities, the Boskalis demands were stricter. As a result, scientists from the Marine Science department at the University of Baja California were brought in to monitor air,.water and soil quality and the disposal of hazardous materials.”
Merijn: “The approach to dismantling is a testimony to how serious Boskalis is.about applying the international conventions to its recycling activities. The Boskalis technical superintendents on site showed passionate commitment to the clean and safe recycling of the vessels. They took abstract principles and turned them into practical applications and invested time to find a dry-dock facility on the other side of the world which clearly has the potential to meet the highest international standards. I encourage Boskalis to keep sharing their knowledge to help the yard progress and to communicate transparently about their recycling practices since this sets a positive example in the maritime industry. Ultimately, this approach will help to transform a historically ‘dirty’ shipbreaking industry into a recycling industry with a positive image.”
Leading by example
Roberto: “Change is always met with resistance. That is human nature. Boskalis sent over two engineers to supervise the work. They were very dedicated and had a high regard for compliance with international principles. Sometimes in the beginning that was stressful for our employees. But the Boskalis people were willing to discuss and explain why certain things had to be done. These discussions were constructive. Working with Boskalis has raised our awareness about the environment. It gave us the experience to work in a different, more responsible way.
The whole world is moving in the direction of environmental responsibility. We.want to be in the forefront in our country. I see the industry going in that direction over time, with more oversight and restrictions, and that is how it should be. Boskalis gave us the opportunity to improve our operations by sharing their knowledge and showing us what is going on in the wider world.”
Martijn Schuttevaer, Director Corporate Communications at Boskalis: “When we decided to have our vessels dismantled at the Amaya Curiel yard, we knew that the yard did not meet all of our requirements. The decisive factor was the potential of the yard and the commitment from the owner. I am pleased we were able to share what we accomplished in Mexico with the NGO Shipbreaking Platform.”
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