This group tracks the responses of shipping industry towards environmental health concerns, highlights influence of shipping companies from EU, US and Japan etc on IMO and its Marine Environment Protection Committee & South Asian governments. It is keen to restore beaches in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan to their pristine glory for the coming generations. For more information visit: www.toxicswatch.org, banasbestosindia.blogspot.com

09/10/2009

OBAMA's USEPA ALLOWS DUMPING OF TOXIC NAVY SHIPS

According to the information received from reliable sources, the ship SS Oceanic (now named PLATINUM II), a US ship was due to get beached in the Plot No. B-5 Hariyana Shipping Ltd, Right now the ship is in the Bhavnagar anchorage point. The ship has under tow. Indian government has submitted to the IMO that a ship under tow should be pre-contaminated and the Indian Supreme Court has also sought prior decontamination of such ships in the country of export.

The name of the ship in question has again been changed. The new name of the ship has not been made public. Anil Sharma’s GMS has created a dummy company registered in Liberia. Now a MOU has been signed between this dummy company and the Haryana Shipbreaking Ltd.

Customs and all the port authorities should verify whether the port of registry is genuine or fake. It is a case of fabrication of documents to bypass the USEPA order wherein it was never mentioned that the ship is being sent to a dummy company.

Verification of the port of registry is likely to reveal the true nature of the transaction, the custom and port authorities must ascertain whether money transaction has taken place at the port of registry.

The ship should be sent back to US in the same way as was done in the case of Le Clemenceau. The US authorities must act before the ship is handed over to Rajiv Reniwal, the owner of Hariyana Shipping Ltd by Anil Sharma, the current owner of ship. Hariyana Shipping Ltd's Reniwal is same owner who misled and made fraudulent representation before the Supreme Court in the matter of the SS Blue Lady (SS Norway)

Anchored permission was granted after Desk review wherein Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) and Customs gave the clearance. The hand over of the ship is likely to take place on either 11th October or 12th October.

Once again in order to present a fait accompli the GMB is conniving with Anil Sharma and it is being said that Platinum-2 has collided with another vessel Amira S' ship. A tug named Barracuda-1 was involved the ship being pulled.

This 682 foot ocean liner is loaded with an estimated 210 tons of toxic polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contaminated material and an estimated 250 tons of asbestos as part of its construction.

There the shipbreaking operations endanger workers and the immediate environment by failing to manage asbestos, PCBs, toxic paints, and residual fuels. Moreover the entry of this ship is manifestly illegal. The ship is an international fugitive vessel. Under US law it is illegal to export the highly toxic banned substance for any reason.

The toxic trade watchdog group Basel Action Network (BAN) had declared victory on
29 January 2009 after a U.S business involved in sending hundreds of ships to the infamous shipbreaking beaches of Bangladesh and India was forced to pay $518,500 and certify that they would not undertake such actions again. BAN had warned, however, that there was still ample opportunity for unscrupulous operators to exploit loopholes to export very toxic U.S. ships to the South Asian beaches like Alang, Gujrat. BAN is a member organization of the NGO Platform on Shipbreaking, an international coalition seeking to ban beaching and unsustainable ship scrapping.

In February 2008, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was tipped off when they discovered that Global Marketing Systems, Inc. (GMS), headed up by a world famous cash-buyer of obsolete ships, Anil Sharma, had taken ownership of the SS Oceanic (former SS Independence) and had the old passenger liner towed out of San Francisco Bay with the intent of scrapping the vessel on the beaches of South Asia. BAN demanded that the U.S. government take action to have the ship returned to a U.S. port, but the EPA claimed they lacked the authority to have the ship recalled. Nevertheless, the EPA took legal action against GMS for violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the law which prohibits the exportation of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a persistent toxic pollutant used in the paints, insulation and gasketry in older ships.

It is high time SS OceanicC (Platinum) is recalled by the US government. This act of trade in hazardous ships entails a “knowing and willful” criminal violation, and they could find themselves behind bars.”

US government agencies have so far ignored each other’s rules and continue to facilitate ship dealers being able to circumvent toxics laws such as TSCA by their actions or inaction. US Maritime Administration (MARAD) must stop such instances of change the flag of a ship from a U.S. flag to a “flag of convenience” and then make the transaction and export.

Soon after EPA initiated its enforcement action against Global and its sister organization Global Shipping LLC, GMS had requested a new application to the Maritime Administration seeking approval to sell the vessel but changing the purpose of export from disposal to continued use of the vessel.

Earlier, the vessel was owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) and sold in July 2007 to California Manufacturing Corporation (CMU) which appears to be a company created by NCL and operates out of the NCL headquarters in Miami. CMU is still listed in the Coast Guard documentation as the last registered owner of the ship. NCL had revealed to journalists that CMU no longer owns the ship but sold the vessel on July 26th, 2007. Under US law, if the ship was sold to a foreign entity, this exchange is illegal as the Maritime Administration did not approve the sale as is required.

Further, importation of a toxic ship from the United States (a non-Party), for full or partial dismantling by a country that is a Party to the Basel Convention is a violation of the terms of the Basel Convention treaty. However, as was the case with the last NCL ocean liner that needed to be disposed of -- the SS Norway (aka Blue Lady), by the time it is rammed up onto the beaches at Alang, India, it may be too late to seek legal recourse.

No comments:

Post a Comment