Going out green

18 December 2020

Every year, over two billion metric tonnes of rubbish is produced around the world. This number is expected to increase to over three billion metric tonnes by 2050.  In a world of growing demand, we all need to become better at re-using materials. This applies both in our private consumption and when running a business. When a vessel of over 20 thousand tonnes is ready for the grave, green recycling is the only sustainable way to end its service.

Höegh Autoliners is committed to conduct business in an ethical, legal and socially responsible manner. Green recycling is the only alternative when Höegh Autoliners decides that a vessel is ready to leave the world fleet. In the last 11 years, we have recycled 18 vessels, all at reputable recycling yards and under the supervision of a professional Green recycling partner.

The Hong Kong convention

Our commitment to green and responsible recycling of vessels is based on the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships (HKC) that was adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in 2009. The HKC recognises that ship recycling is the most environmentally sound way to dispose of a ship at the end of its life, as most of the ship's materials can be reused.

Jan Rune Mørken, responsible for the green recycling of vessels in Höegh Autoliners says,

When we decide to take older vessels out of service, they are dismantled under strict requirements in approved shipyard facilities. This ensures that the vessel, when being recycled, does not pose any unnecessary risks to human health, safety and to the environment.

Safety of workers and environment

In working with qualified Ship Recycling Facilities, there are established management systems, procedures and techniques which do not pose health risks to the workers or have a negative impact on the local community. By choosing established ship recyclers who have facilities that handle toxic waste responsibly and ensure proper safety procedures that protect workers, Höegh Autoliners maintains its strict safety standards when recycling vessels.

Jan Rune explains,

With a focus on minimising our environmental footprint, green recycling ensures that any toxic material is contained properly during the recycling process. This is important as any pollution let out into the environment can change local ecosystems — increasing numbers of potentially harmful bacteria and reducing ecologically important organisms.

Almost 100 percent is being reused

On average, 96% of the vessel can be recycled or reused. Typically, as much as 90% of a ship's weight is made up of valuable metals, mainly steel. This highly desired material actually requires 66% less energy when re-used in steel production than when using raw materials. This lowers the demand for mined iron ore and reduces energy use in the steelmaking process.

Smaller items such as the inventory onboard – sofas, desks, tables, chairs, light fittings et cetera are being re-used on land. Other examples are the batteries that find their way into the local economy and the on-board generators that are re-used ashore.

Jan Rune concludes,

We aim to contribute to sustainable development by operating as a socially responsible shipping company; actively integrating social and environmental concerns in our business operations. Green recycling of our vessels is the best sustainable and most environmentally responsible way to manage vessels at the end of their commercially viable lives.