A ship graveyard is a name given to a place where old ships are abandoned to naturally disintegrate. Also known as ship cemetery, a ship graveyard would generally have a large number of ships, boats, or hulls of scrapped vessels left to decay and rust.
The practice of abandoning ships to rust in a particular area was followed mainly during the ancient time; however now it has become difficult to carry of the activity because of various environmental and waste regulations.
For this reason, even today those places where ships are dismantled or scrapped for recycling their metal or removing dangerous material like asbestos are also known as ship graveyards. Places such as the Alang ship breaking yard and the Chittagong ship breaking yard are the famous ship graveyards in the world.
Several ship graveyards are still present in around the world. It is seen that a large number of ships have been abandoned mainly in areas where navigation is difficult or where means to relocate them are not easily available or accessible. Moreover, those areas where a large number of ships have been sunk during battle and whose remains are still present at the ocean floor are also termed as ship graveyards.
Today, many of those ship graveyards, where ruins of ships are underwater, serve as an excellent site for scuba diving and sightseeing.
During the ancient days, old ships were dismantled and their hulls were abandoned at the sea or scuttled. This lead to a number of sites with abandoned boats and ships together at one place.
Some of the famous ship graveyards in the world are:
Many ship graveyards have also been formed because of ships sunk during battles at the sea. Many of those ships carried a large amount of ammunitions with them. Such explosives have eventually been removed by the military or detonated to get rid of the explosive power which would pose great danger to both marine and human lives.
In the past, several countries used to carry out an activity which would involve abandoning a ship by deliberately sinking it to the ocean floor. This was known as ship exercise. Many ship graveyards have also been formed because of this reason. However such activities have been stopped because of the resulting effects of the marine pollution.
Several ship graveyards have also been formed due to natural reasons such as rocks, reefs, and dangerous waters. There are areas around the world where several ships have sunk because of natural disasters such as storms, rough weather, or icebergs. Wrecks of ships sunk due to such reasons are still present at the ocean floor. Such ship graveyards are the most common ones found around the world.