How To Scrap A Warship
Navy

How To Scrap A Warship

In recent years a number of former Royal Navy warships have made their final journey ahead of being dismantled. But have you ever wondered...

How To Scrap A Warship
In recent years a number of former Royal Navy warships have made their final journey ahead of being dismantled.
 
In 2012, the Ministry of Defence announced the "difficult but necessary" decision that former flagship HMS Ark Royal would be sold for scrap for around £3 million.
 
A year earlier, HMS Invincible had met the same fate. In August 2015, meanwhile, HMS Edinburgh set sail for the final time, to be dismantled in Turkey.
 
And we've seen some surprising outcomes - an Indian company is now making motorbikes out of scrap from the former aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.
 
But have you ever wondered how the mammoth task is taken on?
 
HMS Cornwall
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Commissioned in 1988 by Princess Diana, the 5,300 ton Type 22 frigate HMS Cornwall undertook duties across the world during her time in service, including being part of the Royal Navy Task Force involved in the invasion of Afghanistan.
 
After being decommissioned in June 2011, she was put up for sale in 2013, and sold to UK company Swansea Drydocks for demolition in summer of that year. She was towed from Portsmouth to Swansea in October.
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HMS Cornwall being towed to Swansea Drydocks (above) before mooring (below)
 

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Upon arrival she was secured on a wet berth and steps were taken to ensure security as well as the upkeep of environmental and health and safety controls. She was to stay in the wet berth repair area until May 2014.

During this time holes were cut in the side of the vessel to allow materials to be removed:

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Electronics and items of interest to other Navies were catalogued and documented to help attract potential buyers. Over 200 tonnes of items like davit cranes, the anchor and chain, lights and doors were sold for further use.
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Metals not containing iron were removed:
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In May the hard strip and recycling began in dry dock, with the main foremast the first piece removed:
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The propeller, once removed, was completely stripped down to reveal all of its component parts. Each 'petal' weighed approximately 800kg:
 
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By June, dismantling of the forward structure had begun:
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In the dry dock Cornwall was set on blocks for stability bracing and shoring:
 
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By July recycling of the sonar dome had begun. The sonar array was removed from inside the dome in one piece.
 
It weighed 15 tonnes and consisted of 64 transducers, that yielded over 7.8 tonnes of non-ferrous metal:
 
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182 tonnes of lead ballast was removed in total:
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The final stages of dismantling in the dry dock:
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The final pieces of HMS Cornwall were removed from dry dock October 30, 2014, a year to the day of her arrival.
 
Thorough cleaning of the dock was undertaken prior to re-flooding in preparation for the next ship arrival:
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You can take a look at the final statistics below:
 
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