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Damen Shipyards Sets Sail for Sustainable Shipbreaking with Pilot Project

Damen Shipyards Sets Sail for Sustainable Shipbreaking with Pilot Project

Dutch shipbuilding giant Damen Shipyards Group is embarking on a groundbreaking initiative to revolutionize the way ships are dismantled at the end of their lifespan. Their pilot project tackles the environmental challenges of traditional shipbreaking by focusing on a “circular” approach that prioritizes recycling and adheres to strict EU regulations.

This trial run will involve the meticulous dismantling of a small tugboat named “Jan” at Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam’s Botlek site. Built in 1927, the 15.4-meter tug will serve as a test case for this eco-friendly dismantling method. The project’s success will pave the way for commercially available green shipbreaking services, even for much larger vessels in the future.

“This pilot project aligns perfectly with our goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable shipbuilder,” declared Arnout Damen, CEO of Damen Shipyards Group. He emphasizes that sustainability goes beyond just designing, building, maintaining, and refitting ships. It’s about taking responsibility for their entire life cycle, with a particular focus on responsible dismantling and, crucially, recycling at the end of a vessel’s service.

The chosen location for this pilot project is significant. Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam’s Botlek site boasts a place on the coveted EU list of certified ship recycling facilities. This certification guarantees the dismantling of the Jan will be conducted with the utmost safety and environmental consciousness.

Partnering with Damen for this project is Bottelier Slooptechniek, a company with a proven track record in “circular demolition.” Their expertise in meticulously dismantling and sorting materials will be crucial for the project’s success. Nick van Egten, co-owner and commercial director of Bottelier Group, explains their approach: “We will meticulously identify all the materials used in the Jan and assess their potential for reuse. This meticulous process ensures we maximize the environmental and economic benefits by giving these materials a second life.”

The tugboat, named Jan and built-in 1927, will undergo dismantling at Damen Shiprepair Rotterdam’s Botlek site, which is one of the few EU-certified ship recycling facilities in the Netherlands. This ensures safe and eco-friendly dismantling practices for the 15.4-meter-long tug.

Bottelier Slooptechniek is the partner responsible for dismantling and sorting. They are fully certified in circular demolition, ensuring materials from the Jan are identified and assessed for reuse.

Nick van Egten, commercial director and co-owner of Bottelier Slooptechniek, explained, “We identify all the materials from the Jan and assess their potential for reuse, maximizing environmental and economic returns from their residual life.”

Transparency is a key pillar of this project. Upon completion, a detailed report will be made public, outlining the exact quantities of dismantled materials and how they were dealt with. This could involve reuse, recycling, or responsible disposal according to EU regulations.

Looking beyond the pilot project, Damen is already charting a course for the future of circular shipbreaking. Their financial services arm, Damen Financial Services, is collaborating with Offshore Ship Recycling Rotterdam to develop a comprehensive approach for the commercialization and financing of these sustainable dismantling projects.

This pilot project by Damen Shipyards Group represents a significant step towards a more sustainable future for the shipping industry. By prioritizing responsible dismantling and maximizing material reuse, Damen is setting a new standard for shipbreaking practices. Their success could pave the way for a future where ships are not just built to last, but also dismantled responsibly, minimizing environmental impact and creating a more circular economy within the shipbuilding industry.

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