Dismanteling of ship wreck Jan Breydel

In 2013, Jansen Recycling Group was commissioned to dismantle the ship wreck ‘Jan Breydel’. A major challenge, as the wreck had sat on the seabed for over 25 years.

The Belgian fishing trawler ‘Jan Breydel’ collided on 29 March 1985 with the Philippine container ship ‘Arabian Express’. More than 25 years, the ship still lay intact on the seabed in the North Sea area known as ‘Noord Hinder’, adjacent to Zeeland. Several shipping lanes converge in this area. Because sea-going vessels are getting bigger and bigger, requiring ever deeper draughts, Rijkswaterstaat has had to salvage a number of wrecks. And that’s a job for Boskalis. Dismantling was carried out by Jansen Recycling Group in the Koggehaven in Vlaardingen.

Major challenges

It was not clear what state the wreck was in. The specifications of the cargo were not complete and there were extra risks. These included the presence of batteries, residual fuels, oils, contaminated sludge and possibly even asbestos. It was a major challenge to dismantle the ship in a safe and environmentally-friendly way – a key requirement of Rijkswaterstaat. The parties involved had to keep the risks manageable and carry out the dismantling in a satisfactory way. We underpinned these guarantees in a detailed plan of action. Rijkswaterstaat was closely involved in the dismantling process, as were the labour inspectorate and the port police. This placed even more pressure on the personnel and the project leaders.

Preparation and dismantling

After approval of the plan of action, our yard started to prepare. We installed cranes and extinguisher equipment in the optimal positions and equipped the pump system with extra capacity. We called the team together and held a debriefing. This included discussion of the layout of the site, the safety guidelines, the regulations relating to hazardous substances, and the emergency procedure.


Upon arrival, the wreck turned out to be heavier than anticipated. Hoisting the wreck involved some major risks. We therefore decided to dismantle it on the pontoon. Although dismantling was a major challenge, it went successfully without incident.

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