In the shipping industry, the effects of the global recession can also be seen by the number of vessels sent for recycling. The volume of tonnage sent for recycling in only the first month of 2009 was more than 40% of the total recycled in the whole of 2006.

DNV has for nearly two decades been actively involved in issues relating to harmful substances on board vessels that are ready for recycling. Over almost the same period, DNV has also been involved in improving the whole recycling process.

In May this year, a new IMO guideline – “International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships” – is to be adopted.

“DNV has played an active role in developing this IMO guideline,” says Tor Svensen, the COO of DNV Maritime. “Back in 1994, we were hired by Shell to prepare - as an independent third party - an inventory list of the Brent Spar platform. On the basis of our offshore competence and shipping traditions, DNV has strongly advocated implementing an equivalent regieme for the shipping industry.”

Following the adoption of the new convention in May of this year, the demand for hazardous material inventories is expected to grow significantly.

“DNV has prepared inventory of hazardous materials for close to 50 ships in operation as well as for more than a 100 new buildings. Based on this experience, we know that normally the relevant documentation for existing ships is insufficient, simply because such inventories were seldom established when the ship was built. In addition, and based on the same experience, modifications and reconstruction work are seldom sufficiently documented,” says Liv Hovem, senior principal engineer.

DNV solves these problems through on board surveys which include material sampling and visual inspection rather than just a document review.

Unfortunately, vessels which are to be recycled also represent health, safety and environmental challenges during the recycling process itself. This calls for serious development steps to be taken by the recycling industry as well. New ship recycling requirements may lead to a change in this market and the creation of a recognised classification, certification and audit system for recycling yards has been proposed. DNV actively supports this process and is currently participating in a project co-working with several involved parties to establish mechanisms for third-party evaluation of recycling yards.