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.
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. Options currently available include:
Ship breaking (involving recycling)
Use as an artificial reef
Sale for re-use
Floating (or drydock) storage
Deep water sinking
Description of options
Hulking was a traditional method of converting a hull to another purpose after its usefulness as a ship had ended. The ship is stripped of its motive equipment (sails and rigging or motors) and is used for a variety of purposes. This practice is still in use to a limited extent.
Ship breaking is the most common and most environmentally accepted method of ship disposal. According to various organisations, only facilities approved by the Basel Action Network's "Green Ship Recycling" program are environmentally sound options.