The battle over plans to dismantle four old ships from the US navy on Teesside is costing millions of pounds and threatening jobs, it is claimed.
The 'ghost ships' are currently moored in Teesside.
Able UK says foreign competitors are now moving in on the ship recycling market, and the possibility of securing future contracts is under threat.
A decision about whether the company can carry out work to dismantle the ships is yet to be made.
Environmentalists want the vessels to be returned to the USA.
The ships are up to 60 years old and are said to contain a range of toxic materials, including lead, mercury, asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
They are currently moored at Able UK's Graythorp yard while the company applies for new waste disposal licences and planning permission to carry out the work.
Able UK managing director Peter Stephenson said work on a new environmental assessment will now take two months longer than expected.
He said: "With all the additional scrutiny, a lot more information is required than has been the case on any other development, and this will take until April.
"This is costing us about one third of a million pounds extra."
Mr Stephenson said foreign competitors are now moving into the recycling market, taking advantage of the delays facing Able UK.
He said: "We are aware of at least two other facilities being set up and they are doing their best to get hold of our techniques and methods, which have been made public.
"We spent a lot of time and resources developing our operations and they have the benefit of that now and know our ideas - the chances are, they are going to be operating before we can.
"Whether we can then operate competitively with the burden of all the costs we now have is a decision we will have to make in the summer."