The ongoing slump in the offshore market has changed the landscape of the Turkish shiprecycling centre of Aliaga.

Adem Simsek, whose Simsekler Group operates one of the larger shiprecycling facilities there, describes Aliaga as becoming a high-rise town as the massive legs of oil rigs tower over the landscape.

“Everywhere you look there are rigs," he says.

Simsekler has recycled dozens of semi-submersible and jack-up rigs over the past couple of years, and Simsek says they just keep on coming from the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and the North Sea.

More rigs arriving

Three more semi-submersible rigs are expected to reach Simsekler’s beachfront within the next three months.

Turkey is seen as a more viable recycling destination than the Indian subcontinent for rigs originating from the West.

It requires a shorter tow without the need to navigate the often treacherous waters off the South African coast.

The slump in the offshore market is also seeing a big rise in the number of older semi-submersible heavylift ships arriving at Aliaga for demolition.

These ships are often loaded with final cargoes, such as rigs or small offshore support vessels, that are also to be scrapped.

Simsekler has recycled two semi-submersible heavylift ships and has three more on the way.

Simsek could not divulge the seller of these vessels due to confidentiality clauses in the sales contracts.

Volume increasing

Containerships have also featured frequently on Aliaga’s arrivals lists.

Overall, Simsek said the total volume of tonnage reaching Aliaga has been steadily increasing despite the drop in value of the Turkish lira.

“I am expecting a good market in the second half of this year,” he says. Simsek hopes Simsekler will soon be adding European Union-flagged ships to its purchase lists.

The yard is one of six to have lodged applications with the European Commission to make it onto the EU’s list of approved yards.

We did not have to make many physical changes but we did have to make some procedural changes. The EU is very keen about documentation

DNV GL, the EC’s external third-party auditor, has completed its audits of Simsekler and three other yards.

Confident

While Simsek has yet to receive word on the outcome, he appears confident that his yard will obtain the required approval.

“To get EU approval you have to make investments and work with an advisor," he says.

"We did not have to make many physical changes but we did have to make some procedural changes. The EU is very keen about documentation.

“I think all four yards that were recently audited will be approved this year.”

Two yards belonging to Leyal Ship Recycling Group were the first Turkish yards to receive EU approval last year.