With a long history of dismantling and scrapping of marine vessels, the first aim of the newly acquired Swansea Drydocks was to re-establish these operations by creating the only current ship breaking facility in Wales. With an investment of over £4million, the plan was to upgrade the site to target UK and European commercial shipping, by offering a facility that would break up end of life shipping.
To achieve this the drydocks required and Environmental Permit before operations could begin and so they brought in environmental consultants Enzygo, to manage the application and carry out the required environmental surveys. As well as addressing a number of ecological concerns, Enzygo also conducted ground assessments, water quality, noise assessments and ecological surveys, as well as a fugitive emissions and odour management plan s to accompany the application.
The result was that not only did the drydocks secure its Environmental Permit (the first of its kind in Wales), but the operational procedures that Swansea Drydocks employed to obtain the Permit is now being used by both the EA and NRW as an example of best practice for all future ship dismantling sites in England & Wales.
Whilst England and Wales both strive towards applying stricter permitting conditions for ship dismantling, there is still considerable inconsistency in the regulatory approach in other countries. For example, recently in Scotland ship breaking has been undertaken on beaches and in open waters and, more alarmingly, in many parts of the world, particularly in South East Asia, few rules apply at all.
This story is featured in MRW magazine: http://www.mrw.co.uk/ships-roll-in-on-the-dock-of-the-bay/8646686.article and in Shipping & Marine magazine: http://issuu.com/schofieldpublishingltd/docs/sm7?mode=window&viewMode=doublePage