Breaking Out News Series – Unlocking Brazil’s potential in ship recycling

Published in July 07th, 2024

We are excited to launch our Breaking Out News Series, in anticipation of the second edition of our Ship Recycling Lab in Lisbon this October. Highlighting innovators who believe in competitive, responsible practices, we challenge damaging methods of ship dismantling on tidal beaches and advocate for safer, cleaner and smarter alternatives.


Our first post focuses on why Brazil is poised to become a significant player in the global ship recycling market. With its extensive coastline and robust maritime industry, many existing facilities, primarily engaged in shipbuilding and repair, have the potential to expand into recycling.


Professor Newton Pereira of Universidade Federal Fluminense (UFF) tells us that Brazil is likely to become an important destination for ship owners looking for the sustainable disposal of their assets. From already existing large infrastructure in the States of Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul and Pernambuco to strict national regulations on hazardous waste management, from a soon to be approved national bill mirroring the European Union Ship Recycling Regulation to the shift in policy of the countries oil and gas company Petrobras and the scrapping of Petrobras’ P-32 and P-33 in Brazil, the country stands on the cusp of radical transformation.


UFF plays a is crucial role in this transformation through its Center for Sustainable Systems Studies (CESS/UFF), which focuses on hazardous waste management, optimisation of recycling methods and the scrap steel market to ensure Brazil has a qualified workforce, innovation and resources needed to support its own solutions for ship recycling.

"At CESS, we are developing RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies to manage hazardous waste on ships and in shipyards. Our goal is to ensure transparency and traceability in materials disposal. Specifically, we are exploring ways to automate the management of IHMs (Inventory of Hazardous Materials) on merchant vessels, offshore platforms, and abandoned ships scheduled for decommissioning, dismantling, and recycling. We are currently testing smart labels placed throughout vessels, which can be read remotely within seconds using unmanned vehicles. Additionally, we are working on a project looking at ways to destroy the hazardous characteristics of for example asbestos and glass wool by transforming them into marketable products such as glass."
Newton Pereira - Professor - Universidade Federal Fluminense
Prof. Newton Pereira with his team - © UFF

According to recent figures, dozens of fixed and floating oil and gas platforms and more than 300 large commercial ships regularly operating in Brazilian waters will be retired in the next decade. Brazil’s potential in ship recycling will be further explored by several experts, including Petrobras’ representatives and Professor Pereira, at the upcoming Ship Recycling Lab in Lisbon.

"The Lab is the perfect opportunity to discuss and present alternatives to dirty and dangerous shipbreaking. The concept of an ethical circular economy, which is the connecting thread of the event, represents the cornerstone for a cleaner industry aligned with the sustainable development goals proposed by the United Nations. I am looking forward to highlighting Brazil's initiatives and capabilities in this forum and potentially forge new collaborations."
Newton Pereira - Professor - Universidade Federal Fluminense