Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Can Australia Help Stop the Scandal of Ship Scrapping

New Recycling Facility Open for Business
Shipping News Feature

AUSTRALIA – Further to our recent pieces on ship recycling, The Lead in Adelaide tells us that at least down under there is some movement to banish the murderous ship scrapping industry as practiced on the beaches of the Indian sub-continent.

SIMEC Mining is an arm of the GFG Alliance that bought the Whyalla Steelworks in South Australia along with its associated mines and is now pushing ahead with plans for the new enterprise to deconstruct, scrap and recycle (DSR) ships. The only facility in Australia with the capacity to handle vessels larger than 200 metres in length, the company says this was an ideal opportunity to increase third-party usage.

SIMEC Mining Executive Managing Director Matt Reed said the company had put a lot of work into attracting third parties to use the facility and the process could also align with GFG Alliance’s broader GREENSTEEL strategy, creating scrap that can be recycled through the Whyalla Steelworks or GFG’s other Australian scrap businesses. He continued:

“This work will utilise local maritime services and other contractor services, as well as presenting an opportunity for greater scope should we secure more DSR work through the Whyalla Port in the future.”

The new project is about to get off the ground with the anticipated arrival of the first vessel for decommissioning, the ex-HMAS Success. SIMEC has teamed up with Adelaide-headquartered McMahon Services and project manager Andrew Levett is now on site preparing the port slipway for the arrival of the ship.

HMAS Success was the Royal Australian Navy’s longest serving ship, decommissioned in 2019 after 33 years of service and Levett said work on deconstructing the vessel was expected to take about three months with some of the steel to be recycled through the steelworks. He continued:

“The ship is in Port Pirie at the moment while we are preparing for civil works and resurfacing the old slipway. Our local crews are underway conducting civil work on the existing slipway in preparation for work commencing in the coming months.”

The ship has already been stripped of contaminants, with the hull to be moved across to Whyalla and cut up for recycling using excavator-mounted shears. The Whyalla Port was established as a shipbuilding facility in the early 1940s through to the late 1970s with vessels launched from the site including the HMAS Whyalla.

McMahon Services has offices around Australia and has previously worked on scuttling the guided missile destroyer ex-HMAS Hobart off the Fleurieu Peninsula in South Australia along with ex-HMAS Adelaide off the north coast of Australia. This however is the first vessel which will try to move up the slipway at Whyalla.

Now the challenge will be to see if the facility has the capability to attract more merchant vessels for dismantling to hopefully bring an end to a sector which has blighted the reputation of the shipping industry for generations.

Photo: HMAS Success arrives at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in 2018 (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Holly L. Herline).