Technical Demolition Services in partnership with Leavesley International were the first company to establish a dedicated ship recycling facility in Britain. The facility satisfied all Government, Environment Agency, Health and Safety Executive and Defra guidelines, based on “Safe and Environmentally Sound Recycling of Ships” procedures.

The facility was based at a dry dock situated at Canada Dock, Liverpool. The dock was constructed in 1898 and had recently been unused, Mersey Docks and Harbour Company leased the facility for our use.

HMS Intrepid was the last ship to be built for the Royal Navy at John Browns Shipyard on the Clyde she was launched in 1964 and commissioned in March 1967 and served with the Royal Navy until 1999. Whilst undergoing decommissioning in 1982 she brought back into service and played an active role in the Falklands war. She then acted as a sea training vessel at Dartmouth and was eventually decommissioned in 1999.

The vessel had twin steam turbines and could transport helicopters, amphibious land craft, troops and equipment.

Client: Ministry of Defence and Leavesley Group

Contract: Decommissioning and Deconstruction

Contract start/end date: 2008 – 2009

Total project value: £2,500,000.00

Green Passport and Waste Management Licence and Supporting Material

The MOD in Portsmouth issued a ‘Green Passport’ which detailed the wastes present on the vessel when it was towed from Portsmouth to Liverpool. The Environment Agency classed the vessel as “an end of life vehicle”.

A ship recycling Plan was put together with a waste management plan, method statements and risk assessments were produced to support the application, the licence was granted in June 2008, (Licence Number EAWML 100197).

A ship recycling management plan for Canada Dock was produced to support the waste

management Licence application, procedural documents were prepared for all activities during the dismantling, along with written risk assessments.

A specific waste plan with disposal routes for all wastes was produced ahead of the vessel arriving at Canada Dock.

Arrival of Intrepid at Canada Dock

The vessel was towed from Portsmouth and berthed at Canada dock on September 2008,

TDS had made several repairs to the dock gates but on pumping out the dock it was noted that further work was required, this took time to do and to give confidence in the dock gates.

The dock was 34-foot-deep and had a collection sump for water leaks through the gates, four large pumps were in place, working on level control to maintain a dry condition within the working area, the working area was segregated from the sump by a bund wall.

Interested Parties

The Intrepid Veterans association had visited the ship and we’re always welcome, A cd and video diary had been produced of the work. Leavesley International controlled the sale of reusable items and memorabilia.

The Department of Geography at Sheffield University used the recycling of Intrepid as part of their “Waste of the World” project. Regular visits to the vessel had been made so that a detailed report could be produced on completion of the project.

The Department of Geography arranged a visit by school children who produced a play based on the “Life and Death” of Intrepid. TDS were pleased to attend and assist with this event.

Liaison with Emergency Services

Whilst working on the dock gates progressing exercises were held, with the local fire brigade to familiarise themselves with the vessel, a series of five search and rescue exercises were held involving tenders from all twelve stations in the Liverpool area.

Asbestos Waste 

The major hazardous waste on the vessel was asbestos insulation, a detailed type three survey was conducted for the MOD, a series of deck drawings were also supplied showing the location of asbestos and lengths of the pipe runs. TDS removed all asbestos materials, so that dismantling work could undergo on the last week of December 2008.

Manning and Equipment

Levels of manning varied during the project, on average 15 people worked on the vessel

two Liebherr tracked excavators were used on the vessel, 954, 944 and a 213 wheeled excavator. Other equipment was used to processand segregate wastes, a mobile crane lifted wastes from the dock base to the Quayside.

The Site

 A detailed site induction and tagging system was used throughout the work. Security on site was a major aspect with a palisade fence with lockable gates at access points, access to the vessel was via available gangways.

The north side of the Quay was detailed as a non-working area with reception, offices and Messrooms, the south side of the Quay was designated a working and waste storage area. 

A purpose-built onsite weighbridge was used to provide details of wastes removed from site.


  • The project plan was fully implemented.
  • We have learnt a wealth of knowledge which we will apply to the next vessels to be recycled by us.
  • Recycling rates exceeded 95%.
  • The only environmental incident was a fire below the forecastle by flame cutting a bollard, a full incident investigation was carried out by us and the fire brigade and actioned.
  • The Environment Agency made regular visits and conducted environmental audits.
    Removal of asbestos materials was a laborious process and was carried out without incident. Background and clearance levels of asbestos was well within current regulations.
  • The Ministry of Defence made regular visits to Canada Dockand were impressed with how we handled our activities.