In the last few years David Walter who provides Sea Breezes with many excellent photographs, has sent me a few showing our ex Royal Navy vessels which have come to the end of their working life departing under tow destined for the scrapyard in Turkey.
At one time not so long ago there were many shipbreaking yards around the British coast, but of course most of these have now gone. These are however, still a few facilities in the UK which are well capable of breaking up these vessels and which operate to the highest environmental standards.
Do we really need to tow them all the way to Turkey to break them up. No doubt it all comes down to cost, but as in shipbuilding it is surely important to at least retain a level of skills and facilities. At some point naval ships of significant sophistication/security sensitivity will need to be broken up. Their disposal will surely not be carried out at a foreign shipbreaking yard.
On the subject of disposal it is clear that in the next decade or so, a significant programme of decommissioning of rigs and wells in the North Sea will be undertaken. This decommissioning will be technically challenging, demanding a high level of skills, but with potentially huge rewards. This country once excelled at shipbuilding and shipbreaking – could it not also in the future excel at this highly demanding decommissioning work.