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Recycling of marine-based structures: Maersk Drilling opts for China


Brussels, 17 December 2015 – Currently, Maersk Drilling’s oldest oil rig – the “Maersk Endurer” – is being dismantled at Zhoushan Changhong International Ship Recycling, China. The company had announced its decision in July 2015 to sell the jack-up rig, which was built in 1984 and had been working offshore Cameroun, to one of the biggest ship breaking yards in the world.

maersk endurer
(Photo by Maersk Drilling – “Maersk Endurer”)

“It is Maersk Drilling’s ambition to decommission Maersk Endurer in a safe and responsible way with minimal environmental impact. Therefore, Maersk Drilling has chosen Zhoushan Changhong International Ship Recycling to recycle Maersk Endurer. We chose this option because we consider it to be the safest and most cost-effective approach, with the lowest environmental risks. Zhoushan Changhong International Ship Recycling is a state-of-the-art rig recycling facility, and the facility complies with the Hong Kong International Convention for the Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships and the European Union Ship Recycling Regulation,” Morten Pilnov, Head of Global Sales in Maersk Drilling, explains.

Maersk Drilling, which is part of the Danish Maersk group, has engaged an external company of ship recycling experts to carry out inspections and supervise the entire process with the aim of guaranteeing safe and sound dismantling practices.

Due to the current market situation and the over-supply of drilling rigs in the offshore market, numerous marine-based structures will head to recycling yards in the near future. The NGO Shipbreaking Platform asks shipping and offshore drilling companies to explore clean and safe dismantling options capable of safeguarding both workers’ health and safety and the environment.

The demolition of the oil rig “Nobel Paul Wolff” (IMO: 8756277), operated off the Brazilian coast until November 2014 by Brazilian oil giant Petrobras, represents a worst practice example. In Spring 2015, the rig’s owner Nobel Corporation, a leading offshore drilling company based in the UK and the US, had the structure sold to Siri Zubedar with the help of a cash buyer. This Bangladeshi shipbreaking yard has a particularly bad reputation. The Platform and National Geographic have documented severe and fatal accidents in the yard over the last years. The Platform’s Secretariat invited the Nobel Corporation’s Board to a dialogue; however, the company shows no sign of responsible behavior yet.

(“Nobel Paul Wolff” beached in Chittagong, Bangladesh)