A number of different methods exist for disposing of a ship after it has reached the end of its effective or economic service life with an organisation.[1]


Although many options are technically possible, some, such as deep water sinking, are not used for non-military vessels, or have come under increased scrutiny.[2][3] Options currently available include:

Description of options

Illegal ship disposal

Some shipping companies have in the past attempted to dispose of their ships illegally, often due to the high costs of sanitizing these ships in a legal way as a result of the presence of large quantities of toxic compounds and materials. Prominent examples of where environmental concerns have complicated the planned disposal of ships have been the Norwegian Cruise Lines vessels SS Norway and SS Oceanic, as well as the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau. Although in the past there were few effective controls on ship disposal, and the risk of being caught was therefore limited, national authorities as well as environmental organisations are now more vigilant. Ships are sometimes tracked when they are nearing the end of their lifespan.[8] Companies caught disposing of ships illegally face hefty fines.


  1. ^ "Disposal Options for Ships". google.be. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  2. ^ Options for ship disposal
  3. ^ Ship disposal methods under scrutiny
  4. ^ "UnderwaterTimes.com - EPA Clears the Way to Sink USS Oriskany as an Artificial Reef off the Florida Panhandle". underwatertimes.com. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  5. ^ "Artificial Reefs: A Disposal Option for Navy and MARAD Ships". dtic.mil. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  6. ^ Floating or land-based reuse of ships Archived 2008-12-24 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Ship Disposal SINKEX Program". dot.gov. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  8. ^ Operation spot-a-ship Archived 2009-05-09 at the Wayback Machine