Europe's first 'environmentally friendly' ship recycling partnership has been launched in Belfast.
Harland and Wolff Heavy Industries and environmental management consultancy Golder Associates have joined forces with V Navy to provide " full-service, environmentally sound and socially responsible ship recovery and recycling".
The new partnership has evolved out of a widely-reported incident back in January in which the MSC Napoli ran aground off the Devon coast.
Containers from the ship broke up on beaches - and police had to stop the pillage of the contents.
UMC, a V Navy sister company, managed the recovery of containers which went overboard shortly after the vessel was beached.
Harland and Wolff, which has a waste management licence for the dismantling of marine vessels and marine structures, was subsequently called in to undertake the decommissioning and recycling of the MSC Napoli in co-operation with Golder Associates.
The MSC Napoli arrived at the building dock of H&W in Belfast back in August and dismantling work will be completed next month.
The new venture between H&W, Golder and V Navy, which is part of global marine, energy and financial services outsourcing firm V Group, is the first to provide a fully certified, ecologically and socially responsible European ship dismantling solution, according to H&W.
Services will be available to both military and commercial ship owners.
H&W chief executive Robert Cooper said the company's diversification strategy has paid dividends, seeing the shipbuilder develop services such as module manufacturing, design engineering, ship repair and conversion and move into new green markets of marine-based renewable energy technology and ship dismantling.
"We have utilised Harland and Wolff's vast experience and comprehensive facilities to offer the marketplace an alternative to traditional ship breaking."
Golder Associates spokesman Mark Gilligan said: "We entered into this venture with the aim of utilising Harland and Wolff's unique facilities to raise the standards of ship and offshore structure decommissioning and to establish a solution for European ship recycling.
"Extending this venture to include V Navy places the three businesses at the front edge of this emerging market."