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I think necessary is stretching it. Ship breaking is indeed a necessary thing. The SE Asia method of running them aground and dismantling them with torches and hammers like carrion birds is not. Not only is it extremely dangerous, it’s also extraordinarily damaging to the environment. It’s no secret that the commercial shipping industry would like to be able to sweep these facts under the rug, but it’s nothing less than irresponsible. As regulations inevitably tighten, more and more shippers will begin cutting ties with it. Many new ship builds have very specific recycling plans built into their design. Maersk has literally outlined how to dismantled the EEE class ships (part for part) when that time comes.
I call it sad because for so many of these ships, the process is so careless and lacking in dignity. I’d think the same even if my wallet were involved.