Ship-breaking or ship demolition is a type of
In 2012, roughly 1,250 ocean ships were broken down, and their average age was 26 years. In 2013, the world total of demolished ships amounted to 29,052,000 tonnes, 92% of which were demolished in Asia. As of January 2020, India has the largest global share at 30%; followed by
The largest sources of ships are states of China, Greece and Germany respectively, although there is a greater variation in the source of carriers versus their disposal. The ship-breaking yards of India, Bangladesh, China and Pakistan employ 225,000 workers as well as providing many indirect jobs. In
As an alternative to ship-breaking, ships may be
Wooden-hulled ships were simply set on fire or 'conveniently sunk'. In Tudor times, ships were also dismantled and the timber re-used. This procedure was no longer applicable with the advent of metal-hulled boats.
In 1880, Denny Brothers of Dumbarton used forgings made from scrap maritime steel in their shipbuilding. Many other nations began to purchase British ships for scrap by the late 19th century, including
After being damaged or involved in a disaster, liner operators did not want the name of the broken ship to tarnish the brand of their passenger services. The final voyage of many Victorian ships was with the final letter of their name chipped off.
In the 1930s, it became cheaper to 'beach' a boat and run her ashore as opposed to using a dry dock. The ship would have to weigh as little as possible and run ashore at full speed. Dismantling operations required a 10 feet (3.0 m) rise of
Until the late 20th century, the majority of ship-breaking activity took place in the port cities of
Starting in the mid-20th century, East Asian countries with lower labor costs began to dominate ship-breaking, moving as labor costs rose, initially from countries such as Japan and Hong Kong, to Korea and Taiwan and then to China. For example, the southern port city of
In 1960, after a severe cyclone, the
Tightening environmental regulations resulted in increased costs of hazardous waste disposal in industrialised countries in the 1980s, causing ships to be exported to lower income nations, chiefly South Asia. This, in turn, created a far worse environmental problem, subsequently leading to the Basel Convention. In 2004 a Basel Convention decision officially classified old ships as “toxic waste”, preventing them from leaving a country without the permission of the importing state. This has led to a resurgence of recycling in environmentally-compliant locations in developed countries, especially in former ship building yards.
On 31 December 2005, the French Navy's
In 2009 the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association won a legal case prohibiting all substandard ship-breaking. For 14 months the industry could not import ships and thousands of jobs were lost before the ban was annulled. That same year, the