Protesters used dolls with mutilated limbs to highlight their concerns over a so-called ghost fleet of contaminated ships bound for Teesside.
Demonstrators used mutilated dolls in their protest
Surfers who use the Teesside coastline mounted the demonstration outside the offices of Able UK in Hartlepool.
The company has signed a multi-million pound deal to bring more than a dozen rusting former United States naval vessels to Hartlepool to be scrapped.
But environmentalists claim the vessels, which are contaminated with asbestos, fuel oil and other chemicals, are a danger to the environment.
Four of the ships, which are up to 50 years old, are on their way to Teesside and the first two are due to arrive in early November.
Surfers Against Sewage mounted the demonstration to highlight what they claimed were "real and significant" health risks posed by the vessels.
Able UK condemned the protest as a "sick and misleading stunt".
More court action is expected over the remaining vessels
The surfers say the dolls showed the effects of carcinogenic PCBs, which they claim are lodged in the ships.
SAS campaigner Richard Hardy said: "All the dolls we have brought to the demonstration are limbless and they are significant of birth defects caused by carcinogenic PCBs.
"It is emotive, but it is an emotive stance we are taking.
"People have to be aware that this is a very emotive issue.
"If we are to stop this kind of waste transport transported across the Atlantic, then we have to make a stand now."
But Able UK managing director Peter Stephenson said: "There are no liquid PCB on these vessels.
"There is the potential of some fixed PCBs in things like plastics, cabling or carpets, but these things are everywhere in life."
Mr Stephenson had condemned scaremongering by some who have tried to halt the ships' journey to Teesside.