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

24/02/2010

India Must Reject Dead & Toxic UK Ship


Dead and toxic vessel, Margaret Hill of UK has been sold for 10.2 million USD to Alang's dismantling beach in India, and is expected to shortly leave Dubai. The IMO Number of the vessel is 7368841.

As is usual in the shady business world of the shipping companies, Margaret Hill got permission to leave Southampton under the false premises that it is to be repaired for further operation.

Environmental, labour and human rights groups are following the actions being planned by UK government so that the port authorities of Jebel Ali ensure ship's arrest. It is incumbent on UK to recall the vessel and warn its Indian authorities of the imminent breach of the Basel Convention and violation of the European Waste Shipment Regulation. It must request India to refuse the entry of Margaret Hill into its territorial waters.

It is obvious that European Commission is duty bound to ask the UK of its obligations under the European Waste Shipment Regulation, and contact the Indian and United Arab Emirates Basel Focal Points.

It is believed with regard to ownership question that Waller Marine was the purchaser from Fortess which is owned by Nanak Bajwa. The current owners as per sources are within the UK jurisdiction, therefore, UK government should act to stop the vessel with immediate effect and ensure that it does not land up in India.

Taking cognisance of the violation of EU laws and Basel Convention, in a communication dated February 22, 2010, George Kiayias of European Commission - DG Environment, Unit C2 - Sustainable Production & Consumption, Brussels has reacted saying, "We have been in contact with officials from DEFRA on this who are closely watching the situation. Dubai officials have already been alerted by England's Environment Agency who are currently planning to contact the Indian authorities and alert them as well. We expect to be updated on this matter as more news become available."

Earlier, this vessel was barred from leaving Southampton on August 8, 2009 over suspicions it was heading abroad to be dismantled illegally. It was noted that the action to stop the Margaret Hill leaving the docks is the first time powers have been used to stop a ship from leaving a UK port. The 50,700-tonne liquid natural gas tanker was detained by the UK's Environment Agency. The the ship contains hazardous materials such as asbestos. The official statement of the Environment Agency of UK
is aavailble here:
http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/news/110207.aspx


Under the laws, waste ships containing hazardous materials can only be dismantled at properly authorised dismantling facilities in either the EU or an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country. They cannot be sent to dismantling facilities in countries outside the EU or OECD such as India.

The hazardous waste/shipbreaking/Platinum II/Margaret Hill matter would come up for hearing on 26 February,2010 before the the Supreme Court bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and Cyriac Joseph. The application with regard to end of life fugitive toxic ship has been filed wherein the prayers include:

-Clarify all the steps that are required to be taken by the Union of India through different Ministries before a ship coming for dismantling, enters the territorial waters keeping in view the orders passed by this Hon’ble Court dt 14.10.2003, 6.9.2007 and 11.9.2007 and various international conventions and environmental principles.

-Direct inquiry by an independent trans-disciplinary investigating agency to ascertain the circumstances of the dead US ship’s arrival in Indian waters, to make concerned officials accountable for their acts of omission and commission and seek a detailed report on more than 700 ships broken in last 4 years and 5000 ships broken since 1982;

-Direct the Inter-ministerial committee on ship-breaking and Gujarat Maritime Board to submit its responses to the environmental, occupational and national security concerns raised in its deliberations before this Hon’ble Court;

-Direct Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Chemicals, Ministry of Steel, Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Shipping to file a report on the status of the violations of Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade and Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

-Pass such other order and or direction which this Hon’ble Court may deem fit and proper in the facts and circumstance of the case.

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