Vessel beaching is the process by which marine vessels that have reached the end of their operational lives are laid ashore or grounded intentionally. This approach poses unnecessary risks to human health and safety and to the environment.
The IAGC is committed to promoting environmentally sustainable practices. Thus, the IAGC encourages member companies to carefully consider the potential environmental impacts of all actions, including the appropriate methodology to decommission outdated equipment and vessels.
While beaching decommissioned vessels is not illegal in all regions of the world, the IAGC discourages this practice because of the potential environmental repercussions. However, the practice is illegal in some parts of the world and for all European-flagged ships. Abandoned and beached vessels represent both navigational hazards if abandoned in waterways and environmental hazards if vessels are not appropriately treated prior to disposal. The risks are eliminated when vessels are properly decommissioned and recycled because virtually nothing goes to waste and is reused. Although the seismic fleet represents only a very small portion of the global shipping fleet, the potential environmental impacts render this practice environmentally unsustainable.
The IAGC encourages members to explore alternative decommissioning options consistent with environmental best practices. If the vessel is recycled or dismantled in an area where beaching is an accepted practice, member companies are encouraged to thoroughly vet the shipyard’s practices for safe disposal of hazardous materials.