Beaching is the dominant recycling method. About 75% of demolition tonnage is being beached at the moment. Beaching is possible on the tidal beaches of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan with varying tidal ranges and environmental conditions. Vessels are beached during high tides. By ballasting, de-ballasting and removing weight, vessels can maintain their position or can be winched closer to shore. Vessels are then cut into blocks which are pulled or lifted ashore, depending on Recycling Facilities’ capabilities.
Recycling Facilities that comply with the Hong Kong Convention make sure that no hazardous materials or oil have contact with sand or water. Blocks that are cut to fall onto the beach are cleaned before felling, while other blocks are cut in such a way that they fall inwards, into the ship. Blocks are then lifted or winched ashore, with appropriate measures taken to protect the local environment.
Recycling in a Dry Dock combines the advantages of solid infrastructure with secondary containment that protects water from direct contact with the ship and its hazardous materials during the recycling process. The environmental advantage is a commercial disadvantage on the other hand side.
High costs for this method and the lack of drydocks available for recycling purposes makes it unattractive for commercial recycling. The amount of Vessels being recycled in Dry Docks is lower than 2% according to a study carried out by GSR Services in 2013.
Landing is similar to beaching even though it has a better image. While the tidal ranges in India and Bangladesh allow beaching, landing is practiced in areas with a low tidal range. In Turkey the tidal range is about half a meter compared to the 10 meters in Alang, India.
Vessels are landed on the beach in a similar way to beaching. While the forward section of the Vessel is grounded, the aft section is still afloat during the recycling process. This leads to movement which has to be carefully controlled. Vessels are pulled or lifted ashore by winches and cranes, but in general the blocks cut are of a smaller size compared to usual beaching practice.
According to a study carried out in 2013 by GSR Services about 20% of tonnage is being recycled alongside each year. Ship Recycling Facilities in China and Europe mainly practice this method. Compared to a DryDock there is no second floor which prevents direct contact with water. Ship stability of must also be carefully maintained.
Vessels are cut from top to bottom and parts are winched or lifted directly to shore based facilities that usually have a solid infrastructure.