Scrapping of ex-Maersk FPSO halted after radioactive substances discovered onboard

Maersk finds itself at the centre of another shipbreaking storm after radioactive material was reportedly found on an elderly FPSO being scrapped in Bangladesh.

The 1984-built North Sea Producer now lies partially dismantled at Janata Steel shipbreaking yard in Chittagong and has attracted the ire of both NGOs and the High Court after a number of pipes were found to contain radioactive substances. Dismantling has been halted of the 33-year-old structure.

The court is now trying to ascertain how the vessel arrived on Bangladeshi beaches with a clean certificate.

Maersk, for its part, is distancing itself from the fallout, blaming it on an intermediary who bought the vessel and sold it for scrap.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Lloyds register doesn’t care for the people of bangladesh . issued a clean certificate . LR should be banned ..

  2. Why is it that Sam Chambers only gives half the story. readers would like to be told how a ship could get radio active material in its pipes. Which pipes ? how was the presence of radio activity discovered ? Were the people who issued a clean certificate supposed to use a gieger counter on every thing they inspected ?
    The problem Sam is that your reporting is superficial, just a way to make a quick buck.

  3. It is not uncommon for used oil field tubular goods to accumulate and concentrate mineral precipitates (scale) and some of these precipitates are radioactive. These radioactive materials naturally occur in rock formations and are in formation waters in small concentrations, but the temperature and pressure drops in production pipes (as in FPSO’s ) can cause them to precipitate and concentrate. The oil field vernacular for this phenomena is euphemistically called “NORM” for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material. It does need to be handled very carefully.

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