We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Ship Breaking?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
WikiMotors is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WikiMotors, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Ship breaking is the process of dismantling a ship that has been retired from active use. The idea behind this process is to salvage as much of the material from the ship as possible and recycle the components in some manner. Also known as ship demolition and ship recycling, ship breaking is usually employed when the cost of repairing the ship and keeping it in active use can no longer be justified.

For most of the 20th century, the majority of the ship breaking activity in the world was carried out in Great Britain and the United States. During the final half of the century, shipyards that engaged in ship breaking began to appear in various countries around the Middle East as well as in South America. By the beginning of the 21st century, ship breaking had become a common task that is performed in many shipyards around the world.

Part of the attraction for ship breaking today has to do with the practical use of available resources. As part of the process, components that can be salvaged from the ship are removed first. This can include everything from engine parts to sleeping bunks and even bulkheads. Once the vessel is stripped of all components that can be cleaned and reused in other ships, the remainder of the hull undergoes a process of demolition that often leads to breaking down the shell and selling the pieces as scrap metal.

The scrap metal obtained from ship breaking sometimes undergoes a melting and purification process that allows the metal to be remolded and used to create new components that are incorporated into new ships. This process makes it possible to constantly recycle materials and can often help decrease the cost associated with the production of newer ships.

Not all the materials that are separated in a ship breaking process can be reused or recycled into new components. The asbestos used in many ships prior to the middle 20th century is disposed of and no reused in new construction. In addition, paints and other sealants that contain high levels of lead and other toxins that are no longer in use must be removed from the components before harvesting of the materials can take place. In some cases, addressing the proper disposal of contaminants that cause a threat to the environment constitute a major part of the expense of the effort.

WikiMotors is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WikiMotors, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
Learn more
WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WikiMotors, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.