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

05/12/2011

Sea France Cezanne in Alang?

Sources have revealed that Sea France Cezanne has just been beached for demolition in Alang. It will not sail back to Europe. Le Clemenceau was also a French ship which was recalled by France after massive protest.

02/12/2011

Marine Atlantic and the ship breaking yards

He's got a state-of-the-art, environmentally first rate business and he had a plan to create 40 jobs in Cape Breton. But the decommissioned ferries Wayne Elliot wanted to buy and recycle were sold for millions more than he could even offer by the Canadian Crown corporation Marine Atlantic. They've since ended up at the ship-breaking beach at Alang India, a place notorious for injuries and industrial degradation that is supposed to be hands-off for all countries that have signed a deal called the Basel Convention including ours. So what happened?



Part Two of The Current

Marine Atlantic and the ship breaking yards of India - Gopal Krishna

The ship breaking yards of Alang, India are emblematic of a post industrial world. A blackened beach strewn with the rusting steel of ships that once proudly sailed from the world's harbours. Tearing the ships apart for scrap has made the beach look like a war zone, but the real bomb may yet detonate: the environmental damage from all the stuff that's spilled from those ships. And in this toxic graveyard are the remains of two Canadian ferries - The Joseph and Clara Smallwood and The Caribou. Both were once owned by Marine Atlantic, a crown corporation that operates ferries between Newfoundland and Cape Breton.

Canada is a signatory to the Basel Convention, an international agreement preventing the transport of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries. And yet here sit the Canadian ferries. Part of the explanation is that the ships were sold first to a company in the Caribbean and another in the Marshall Islands. Then, they were sold to a company in Alang.

Gopal Krishna is the founder of Toxic Watch Alliance in New Delhi, India.

Marine Atlantic and the voyage to the breaking yards of India - Wayne Elliott

The president and CEO of Marine Atlantic, Wayne Follett, was unavailable for an interview today. So was the Federal Transport Minister. However a few days ago there was a naming celebration in Sydney Nova Scotia for one of the new Marine Atlantic ferries. It replaces one of the ferries now at Alang. Reporters in Sydney caught up with Steven Fletcher, Minister of State for Transport. We aired a clip.

Steven Fletcher, Minister of State for Transport is answering No to the question of whether the government bears any responsibility for the ships ending up in Alang. Megan Leslie disagrees. She's a Halifax MP and NDP's Opposition Environment Critic. We heard from her.

Wayne Elliott is the founder and director of business development for Marine Recycling Corporation of Port Colborne, Ontario. His company is the first ship-breaking yard to achieve the international standard for environmental management.

Marine Atlantic and the ship breaking yards of India - Tony Puthucerril

Tony Puthucerril is a Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar from India working on his doctorate in environmental law at Dalhousie University. He is author of the book: From Shipbreaking to Sustainable Ship Recycling. He was in Halifax.

Related Links:

http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2011/11/29/marine-atlantic-and-the-ship-breaking-yards-of-india/

23/11/2011

After asbestos, Canada dumps two dead hazardous ships on Alang beach

Two Canadian ships formerly known as the MV Joseph and Clara Smallwood and the MV Caribou was disposed of on Alang beach, Bhavnagar, Guajrat, India.

They were brought from North Sydney to Indian waters violating Basel Convention and the order of the Supreme Court of India.

22/11/2011

Green Tribunal Issues Notices in the M V Rak Case

National Green Tribunal has issued notices to Union of India, Maharashtra Government, Maharashtra Maritime Board, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, M/s Delta Shipping Marine Services, Qatar and Adani Enterprise Limited (AEL) to file affidavits in the matter of sinking of Panama flagged Cargo Ship MV Rak Carrier carrying on board 60,000 tonnes of coal for AEL.

The ship was headed to Gujarat from Indonesia. It sunk near Mumbai coast. Following this notice damages will have to ascertained amidst violation of national and international laws and filed in the coming days before the Tribunal in the Case No.24/2011.

The Directorate General of Shipping, at about 0800 hours, received information from Mumbai Port on 4th August, 2011 that MV Rak Carrier type Bulk Carrier, Flag Panama, built in 1984, manned with 30 crew (Indonesian, Jordanian, Romanian) on board was observed to be adrift 20 miles off from Prongs Reef Light House located at the entrance of Mumbai Harbour, since 4th August, 2011 early hours of morning.

This vessel was on her voyage from Lubuk Tutung (Indonesia) to Dahej (Gujarat) having cargo of 60054 MT cargo of Coal on board reported ingress of water. This vessel is owned and managed by M/s. Delta Shipping Marine Services, Qatar and classed with Lloyds Register of Shipping. The exact quantity of fuel oil and diesel oil remained to be verified.

The Directorate in the capacity of Maritime Assistance Service had requested the Indian Coast Guard to render immediate assistance to this vessel in distress. The report received from the Coast Guard and ETV on 4th August, 2011 at around 1330 hours indicated that ¾ length of the vessel (Overall length about 225 meters) had already been submerged.

The flag administration had also been notified of this shipping casualty. The Directorate, under the provisions of Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 section 356 J & K had issued statutory notice to the ship owner, ship manager and the local ship agent. Directorate General of Shipping had already ordered statutory enquiry into this incident, and had said that it would request the flag state to investigate under the prevailing International law.

These cases of vessels like MV Rak must not be seen in isolation. It needs to be looked at as part of acts of omission and commission by shipping companies in the Indian waters who wish to escape liability in various disguises in order to safeguard nation's ecological security.

The matter came for hearing before the Tribunal's Chairperson's Bench of Hon'ble Shri Justice L.S Panta Chairperson and Hon'ble Shri Vijai Sharma, Expert Member at Van Vigyan Bhawan, Sector-V, R K Puram, New Delhi.

Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Mb: 9818089660
E-mail: krishna1715@gmail.com
Web:http://toxicswatch.blogspot.com

05/11/2011

Swiss Hazardous Ships Bought for Dumping on South Asian Beaches?

MSC Dumps HAZARDOUS SHIPS ON ALANG BEACH YET IT GETS AWARD FOR PROTECTING ENVIRONMENT
Two ships namely Ballina with IMO No. 8300602 and Navajo Spirit with : IMO No. 8613803 owned by SBM Offshore N.V. company of Switzerland. Its 2010 Annual Report revealed that the carrying values of two tankers (Navajo Spirit and Ballina) was reduced to market value. The same was reiterated in company's Press Release dated March 4, 2011. Sources have informed that both these end-of-life tankers which are laden with hazardous materials has been bough over by a company called GMS. It is apprehended that the vessel is likely to reach any of the three South Asian beaches of Gadani, Chittagong and Alang in near future.

It may be noted that Switzerland is a landlocked country. But shipping companies like the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the second-largest container shipping line in the world is headquartered here. MSC has been dumping its end-of-life vessels for several years. Sources have revealed that since 2009 more than 30 ships owned by MSC have been beached in Alang including as MSC Jessica or MSC Chitra. MSC, a Geneva based company operates 441 vessels on 306 ports in the 6 continents. It has a MSC India wind as well.

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) finds it strange that Gianluigi Aponte, Italian businessman, founder and chairman of MSC who dumps his dead and hazardous vessels in the ecologically fragile coastal ecosystem of Alang beach endangering migrant casual workers and the local community has been awarded for "his spectacular annual event celebrates outstanding contributions to safe, efficient and environmentally friendly shipping" at the 23rd Seatrade Awards Ceremony in London on March 4, 2011.

Aponte is estimated to have a fortune of 3.5 billion swiss francs. He is one of the richest persons in Switzerland. He has received the prize for "Neapolitan Excellence in the World" from Silvio Berlusconi, Italian Prime Minister.

Will Aponte and Seatrade explain how does dumping of following MSC owned cargo ships on Alang beach at least since January 1. 2009 qualify as "safe, efficient and environmentally friendly shipping":

MSC Edna
MSC Giulia
MSC Emilia S
MSC Deila
MSC Eliana
MSC Jessica
MSC Katherine Ann
MSC Manu
MSC Mee May
MSC Rosa M
MSC Stefania
MSC Anastasia
MSC Clorinda
MSC Cristiana
MSC Denisse
MSC Lauren
MSC Laurence
MSC Michele
MSC Veronique
MSC Federica
MSC Gabriella
MSC Ilaria
MSC Immacolata
MSC Lucia
MSC Serena
MSC Selin
MSC Idil
MSC Sena
MSC Pilar
MSC Sariska
MSC Chitra
MSC Shaula
MSC Sudan
MSC Paola

In 2006 MSC had its cruise ship Monterey with IMO No. 5240904 was dismantled on Alang beach.

26/10/2011

Ship breaking spoiling environment in Gadani

Ship breaking with out safety measures at Gadani is hazardous to health and spoiling environment

Nasir Mansoor,Deputy General Secretary of National Trade Union Federation (NTUF) and Bashir Ahmed Mehmoodani, President Ship Breaking Democratic Workers Union, Gadani have drew the attention of governmental environmental agency and other concern departments towards the deteriorating and alarming environmental situation which plying havocs with the lives of thousands of workers at Gadani Ship breaking yards.

The ships and oil tankers which were anchored by the owners at Gadani beach for dismantling never heed to the demands of workers representatives to observe the safety measure for the protection of workers and environment and ecology of the area. The anti environment activities have been going on with out any consideration which become harm full for the health of workers and also for the population lives near by.

The trade union leaders stated that recently an "Oil Tanker" named "WENJIANG" has been dismantling at yard number 54 owned by M/S Seth A. Gafoor. The oil tanker is leaked and oil is spreading on the beach and nearly one kilometer of the radius has been covered with the dirty oil.

More than 500 workers are working on breaking the ship (oil tanker) and they all complained of severe skin allergies and acute respiratory problem due to widespread oil smell in the environ.

Nasir Mansoor and Bashir Mehmoodani demanded observance of international environmental protection standards and workers safety measures in ship breaking sector in Gadani. They also demanded to stop the dismantling the oil tanker "Wenjiang" which omitted the hazardous oil in the sea water and to held inquiry on the issue in detail.

Nasir Mansoor
03003587211
www.ntufpak.org

21/10/2011

UN MEET FOR BAN ON HAZARDOUS WASTE EXPORT TO POOR COUNTRIES

PRESS RELEASE

TWA Welcomes Breakthrough in Cartagena, Colombia on UN Hazardous Waste Treaty

INDIA SUPPORTS BAN AMENDMENT TO TREATY ON HAZARDOUS WASTE

UN MEET FOR BAN ON HAZARDOUS WASTE EXPORT TO POOR COUNTRIES

New Delhi October 22, 2011 – Incessant diplomatic efforts resulted in the world witnessing a turning point at the 10th Conference of the Parties of the UN’s Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, as 178 countries which are Parties to it agreed to allow an early entry into force of law of the Basel Ban Amendment that prohibits all exports of hazardous wastes, including electronic wastes and old obsolete ships from rich to poor countries like India.

This happened as a result of an initiative by Indonesia and Switzerland with the support of environmental groups. Now if 17 more Parties from those countries that were Parties during COP3 ratify the Ban Amendment, it will enter into force.
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) urges Government of India to take the lead in ratifying it and persuading other relevant countries to do so prior to the next Conference of Parties. So far 71 countries have ratified the amendment. Prior to COP10, TWA had written to Ministries of Environment, Commerce and Steel to support Ban Amendment. In a letter to Ms. Mira Mehrishi, Additional Secretary, Hazardous Substances Management Division, Ministry of Environment and Forests, it had demanded that India should ratify the Ban Amendment to ban hazardous waste trade

China, the European Union, and developing countries strongly supported the Ban Amendment. Traditional opponents of the amendment like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and India changed their stance for the entry into force of the 1995 treaty. The USA has also opposed but is not a Party of the Convention. Ahead of the upcoming hearing in the Supreme Court, Government of India’s support for Ban Amendment is a step in the right direction.

Basel Convention has regained its original mandate to regulate shipbreaking not the International Maritime Organisation’s Hong Kong Convention given the fact that rate of disposal of end of life ships on Alang beach, Gujarat, Chittagong beach, Bangladesh and Gadani, Pakistan has gathered momentum unmindful of the death of migrant, casual and vulnerable workers and the ongoing contamination of South Asian beaches.

It is hoped that it will pave the way for eliminating all hazardous waste through adoption of substitutes of hazardous materials, Green Design, Clean Production based on Life Cycle Assessment.

The Basel Ban Amendment was originally adopted in 1995 as a proposed amendment to the Basel Convention but has recently been stalled due to uncertainty as to how to interpret the Convention. Now following a diplomatic working group known as the Country Led Initiative, it has been decided that the Ban Amendment will go into force when 68 of the 90 countries that were Parties to the Convention in 1995, ratify the agreement. Currently, 51 of these have ratified the amendment, leaving just 17 more needed. At present there are 178 Parties to the Convention.

“Finally, the blockade has been lifted and the Basel Ban that has been held hostage now for many years is liberated,” said Jim Puckett, Executive Director of the Basel Action Network who was present in Cartagena. “The Ban Amendment ensures that developing countries are not convenient dumping grounds for toxic factory waste, obsolete ships containing asbestos, or old computers coming from affluent countries. It enforces the Basel Convention obligation that all countries manage their own hazardous waste.”

It is important that Parties disagreed that the International Maritime Organization’s Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling, provided an equivalent level of control to that of the Basel Convention. The Hong Kong Convention has no motive of minimizing the movement of hazardous ships to poor countries. The Basel Convention ought to act proactively to prevent the dumping of end-of-life ships on the beaches of poor countries like India.

As of now 33 of the 41 developed countries to which the hazardous waste export ban applies have implemented it nationally. Commenting on the Indonesian-Swiss country-led initiative to improve the effectiveness of the Basel Convention, USA had argued ‘whether it is appropriate for a Convention body to seek to define terms such as “second hand goods” and “used goods” and its reference to “specific arrangements that can be applied to used and end of life goods” while expressing its support to combat illegal traffic in wastes, and had suggested that term "vulnerable countries” be replaced with “certain countries”.

COP-10’s decision will exert diplomatic pressure on countries such as USA that never ratified the treaty. They will have to accept the ban as an integral part of the Convention after its entry in to force.

Earlier, Waste without Frontiers: Global trends in generation and transboundary movement of hazardous wastes and other wastes (http://www.basel.int/pub/ww-frontiers26Jan2010.pdf), a 36 page study by Basel Convention Secretariat provided a glimpse of the global trends on the generation and transboundary movements of hazardous and other wastes produced under the Convention in its first 21 years of existence. TWA hopes that waste will stop following the path of least resistance due to this treaty.

Dr. Frank Pearl, the Colombian Environment Minister, the host reminded that the next generation will at some point come knocking at our door. Responding to it, we have heard the knock, we have opened the door, we have looked into the faces and eyes of our future progeny and we have answered their plea. The Draft Cartagena Declaration on hazardous wastes and other wastes is attached.

TWA appreciates the work of BAN and other environmental organizations which worked towards this end.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, TWA, Mb: 9818089660, E-mail: krishna2777@gmail.com,
Web: toxicswatch.blogpsot.com
Jim Puckett in Cartagena: Phone: +57 3155483958, E-mail: jpuckett@ban.org
For background Documents on COP10 Basel Meeting: Visit: ban.org (Meetings, COP10 Section), basel.int

UNEP attempts to create a regime for free trade in waste, condemnable

Press Release

CBI Should Probe Hazardous Wastes Trade: Supreme Court Monitoring Committee

UNEP attempts to create a regime for free trade in waste, condemnable

10th Meeting of UN’s Basel Convention to Concludes today

Supreme Court to hear Hazardous Waste Case on November 15


New Delhi/21/10/2011: Global hazardous waste trade treaty’s 10th conference of parties (COP 10) dwelt on a path forward on the Ban Amendment to UN’s Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal but under tremendous influence of hazardous waste traders it emerged that it wants to “turn wastes into valuable resources” in order to make it a “non new good” contrary to Supreme Court’s order.

On October 18, 2011, India called for further discussions of the legal interpretation of Article 17(5) in a contact group instead of calling for voting on the issue to ensure that Ban Amendment comes into force. EU’s support for the Ban Amendment appeared suspect as it continued to support International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s treaty on Ship Recycling/Shipbreaking (Hong Kong Convention) that does not ban imports of hazardous wastes laden end-of-life vessels and India-EU Free Trade Agreement on October 19. Both Indian environmental groups and Indian shipbreaking industry oppose IMO's treaty as anti-worker and anti-environment but Government of India seems to be representing someone else in this regard.

The Supreme Court’s bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice H L Gokhale passed an October 11, 2011 saying, “...many of the directions given and contained in the judgment delivered on 14th October, 2003, reported in (2005)10 SCC 510, along with the recommendations of the Monitoring Committee which had been constituted by this Court by virtue of the said judgment, are yet to be complied with, we direct the respondent, Union of India/Government of India to consider the report of the Monitoring Committee prepared by Dr. D.B. Boralkar and Dr. Claude Alvares, the directions contained at page 541 of the aforesaid judgment and a copy of the submissions filed on behalf of the writ petitioner on 21st September, 2011, and to prepare a note as to what steps have been taken to implement the directions and, if the same have not been implemented, as to why the same have not been implemented. While considering the aforesaid report and judgment, the Government of India shall also consider the other judgment in the same matter reported in (2005) 13 SCC 186. Let this matter be adjourned till 15th November, 2011...” The order is attached. The Basel Convention which has been adopted by the Supreme Court of India seeks national legislation, national reporting and enforcement to mitigate illegal trafficking of hazardous wastes.

The report of Boralkar and Alvares, the members of the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes has recommended investigation by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to get to the bottom of the ongoing trade in hazardous wastes. The report and pictures are available here: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/6179856/SCMC%20BC%20March%203%202007.pdf
It is noteworthy that Interpol has a Pollution & Environment Crime Working group, India also needs one. World Customs Organisation enforces six multilateral environmental treaties with its help.

It has been reported that Article X-15 of the India-EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations about ‘non-new goods’ (an euphemism for waste), which is expected to be concluded by the end of this year. Government of India has been ignoring Parliament of India in these matters. In a complete contrast on March 5, 2009, the European Parliament voted on 140 tabled amendments to the draft report on the FTA between India and the European Union (EU). Has Parliament in our country been given any such opportunity for instance, to take a considered view on hazardous waste trade? Meanwhile, the 1083 page India-Japan Free Trade Agreement legitimizes waste trade for good. Like Germany and UK, Japan too has been a consistent opponent of the Basel Convention.

The status of Ban Amendment to Basel Convention is the same as Kyoto Protocol is to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Basel Convention is a global environmental treaty dealing with hazardous and other wastes. It has 178 members and aims to protect human health and the environment against the adverse effects of the generation, management, transboundary movements and disposal of hazardous and other wastes.

In the matter of trade obligations and commitments of generators of hazardous wastes is quite clear. It is a sad day for global environmental movement that at time when exporters, importers and waste processers have ganged up against human health and environment in collusion with UNEP, there is a disturbing silence from the NGOs of the richer countries in particular and donor driven NGOs of the poorer countries.

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) strongly disapproves of Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director at the Basel COP 10 meeting attempts to legitimize “moves forward in establishing a regime for countries who wish to trade in waste”, thereby dividing the world into those love trade in hazardous waste and those who do not and to create a “balance” between them.

Senior Advisory Group of Experts to the Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention Secretariat met from 18 to 19 January 2011 to subvert the definition of waste and turn it into non-waste in the name of exploring the economic potential of the extracting resources from waste. After the meet, the Basel Convention Secretariat and Ms. Katharina Kummer Peiry, Executive Secretary of the Basel Convention circulated a non-paper titled “SHIFTING PARADIGMS: FROM WASTE TO RESOURCES”. This appears to be a scandalous act that tantamount to an unpardonable environmental sin by Basel Convention Secretariat and United Nations Environment Programme under Executive Director, Achim Steiner. It was under the influence of hazardous waste traders that COP10 attempted to dedicate itself to the controversial theme of ‘recovery, of wastes’ in order to promote fake green business and dirty, degrading and dangerous job opportunities, while paying lip service to human health, livelihood, and the environment. The non-paper is attached.

Basel Convention Secretariat under Ms. Peiry and UNEP under Steiner’s leadership seems to have adopted regressive Lawrence Summers principle under the influence of countries like USA, Germany, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, South Korea and Japan in general and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses, International Chamber of Commerce, US Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries and Bureau of International Recycling (BIR), the international trade federation representing the world’s recycling industry. These entities were opposed to principles of Basel Convention at least since 1992 when the treaty was adopted unlike India. Since Kamal Nath’s tenure as Union Environment Minister, later as Union Commerce Minister and now with Anand Sharma, as Union Commerce Minister there is been noticeable reversal in India’s position against public health and environment. Notably, in February 2002, the Supreme Court had fined the Ministry of Environment & Forests Rs.10, 000 for not having complied with its orders regarding the disappearance of hazardous waste oil from major ports in the country. Prior to that the court had ordered on May 5, 1997, "no authorisation or permission (for hazardous waste) would be given to any authority ... which has already been banned by the Union government or by any order made by any court or any other authority...(In addition to this) no import would be made or permitted … under the Basel Convention."

In such a backdrop, TWA welcomes the step of Parliament of Republic of Malta, a Southern European country which has approved the ratification of the amendment to the Basel Convention on the Control of Trans-Frontier Movements of Hazardous Waste on October 19, 2011. The amendment is aimed at prohibiting exports of hazardous waste to developing countries. TWA hopes that Parliament of India too will prevail on Government of India to ratify the Ban Amendment to prohibit hazardous waste trade that is being promoted by its Commerce Ministry under the undue influence of traders.

The Third meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP3) to the Convention in Geneva in September 1995 an Ban Amendment was adopted. This bans the export of hazardous wastes for final disposal and recycling from rich countries to poorer countries. This amendment was to enter into force following ratification by 62 parties as per Article 17 (5) of the Convention. The Ban Amendment has not entered into force despite the fact that 70 parties have ratified it because Basel Convention Secretariat appears to have surrendered under the influence of powerful hazardous waste traders. The parent treaty, the Basel Convention that adopted in 1989 entered into force on 5 May 1992 has been ratified by 175 countries.

It is quite sad that after acknowledging that “Trade in hazardous wastes has grown significantly between developing countries, a trend unforeseen when the Convention was adopted more than two decades ago”, UNEP and the Basel Convention Secretariat incorrectly state, “such trade is not addressed by the Ban Amendment, which was adopted in 1995 and has 70 Parties.” Both these agencies have failed in not putting the issue of a long-standing dispute over how to calculate the requisite number of ratifications needed which has defied resolution by consensus to vote. It is an act of dereliction of duty.

In a year prior to the 20th anniversary of the Rio Conference on Environment and Development and the 40th anniversary of the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, UNEP appears subservient to hazardous waste traders. The 5 -day UN meeting from 17 to 21 October 2011 in the city of Cartagena, Colombia concludes today. TWA had written to Ministry of Environment and Forests, Commerce and Steel Ministers to adopt its original position of 1992 articulated in Piriapolis, Uruguay in December 1992, by A. Bhattacharja, Head of the Indian delegation saying, "You industrial countries have been asking us to do many things for the global good -- to stop cutting down our forests, to stop using your CFCs. Now we are asking you to do something for the global good: keep your own waste." It is hoped that both Supreme Court and Parliament will act in time to set matters right before it is too late and ask the rich countries and their waste traders to keep their own waste, our own waste is too much to handle.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Convener, ToxicsWatch Alliance, Mb: 9818089660, Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, www.basel.int

17/10/2011

Routine Deaths in Chittagong, Ships Owners Have Field Day

Note: South Asian beaches in Chittagong, Bangladesh, Gadani, Pakistan and Alang, India have seceded from their respective countries and have become the properties of rich ship owning companies and countries of US, Europe, Japan, Canada, Australia and China. These countries and their transnational shipping companies are in the process of writing the obituary of UN treaty, Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal at its Tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Basel Convention (COP 10) during October 17-21 in CARTAGENA, Colombia. The theme of COP 10 “recovery of wastes” is anti-environment and human health.

Gopal Krishna
ToxicsWatch Alliance

span style="font-weight:bold;">4 dead, 40 taken ill in gas leaks

Oct 16th, 2011

Dhaka, Oct 16 (bdnews24.com) – Four people were dead and at least 40 taken ill in two separate incidents of gas leakage in the country.

In one incident, four workers died after inhaling poisonous gas in Chittagong when a docked ship was being gas-freed on Sunday evening in Giri Subedar Ship Breaking Yard.

Those dead were identified as Mir Kashem, 22, Nesar Uddin, 25, Younus, 23, and Gias Uddin, 25.

The yard in Bara Awlia area of the port city is owned by Lokman Hakim.

Two people were also reported to have fallen sick due to the gas and admitted to Chittagong Medical College Hospital, said medical police post sub-inspector Mohammad Zahirul Islam.

Shipyard general manager Mohammad Sekandar told bdnews24.com, "In the evening, many were taken ill making a ship gas-free."

But he denied any knowledge about four people dying in the incident.

Earlier in the day, at least 40 people, including 12 firemen, fell sick after a pipe of the chlorine unit of a chemical factory at Keraniganj leaked.

The pipe of the chlorine unit of Global Heavy Chemical Company Limited leaked around 9am on Sunday, South Keraniganj police chief Sakhawat Hossain told bdnews24.com.

"The situation is under control now," he added.

Fire brigade control room officer Nilufar Yasmin told bdnews24.com that the information fire fighters repaired the leak after around half an hour.

But many people including the fire fighters fell sick before the pipe was repaired.

They have been admitted to Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital and Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

The police officer said owner of the chemical factory Sabur Khan could not be immediately reached for comment.

bdnews24.com/corr/kt/jk/ost/mc/mrh/nir/2240h

05/10/2011

Gulf Jash renamed Hua Feng

Sources have revealed that Gulf Jash (formerly Probo Koala) has been renamed Hua Feng on August 5, 2011 after being rejected by Bangladesh in June, 2011 under the former name Gulf Jash. The vessel steered back to Shanghai, was renamed Hua Feng. It is currently in Weda Bay near Buli, Indonesia as of 3 October, 2011. The vessel has been in Weda Bay since 4 September, 2011.

29/09/2011

Dumping of Asbestos laden Dead Chinese Ship in Indian Waters on Alang Beach

To

Smt Meera Mehrishi
Additional Secretary
Hazardous Substances Management Division
Union Ministry of Environment & Forests
Government of India
New Delhi

Date 30/9/2011

Subject-Dumping of Asbestos laden Dead Chinese Ship in Indian Waters on Alang Beach
and related issues

Madam,

This is to draw your attention towards a toxic Chinese ship, Asia Union (ex MV Humber, MV Cast Otter) with IMO Number: 8015673 with some 79 deficiencies since 2010 at different ports, it is feared to be on its way to a ship-breaking yard on Alang beach for dismantling in violation of the Supreme Court’s order, UN’s Basel Convention on Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal and Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 under Environment Protection Act, 1986. This ship was built in 1982. It is a bulk carrier with LDT: 14,436. At present the ship has the flag of Panama. Its length is 235 m.

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), a research and advocacy group has learnt from sources that Global Marketing System (GMS), a US company that negotiates sales of vessels, brokered the deal for purchasing the Chinese ship in India.

I submit that TWA has been pursuing the ship breaking case in the Supreme Court. The matter was listed for hearing on 28th and 29th September, 2011.

It may be noted that in an Office Memorandum No.29-3/2009-HSMD, Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests, (HSM Division) dated 9th May, 2011 relating to implementation of Supreme Court directions in respect of ship breaking activities, it has been admitted that the issue regarding the submission of fake certificates by the ship owners/agents remains unresolved. TWA has drawn the attention of the authorities in this regard. The document is attached.

It is germane to recollect that TWA has provided documentary evidence of fake documents to the Environment Ministry which was referred to the Ministry of Steel. It wrote a letter to Shri S. Machendranathan, Chairman, Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on shipbreaking (constituted by Supreme Court’s 14th October, 2003 order) drawing his attention to non-compliance with the Court’s order and the issue of the hazardous and dead European vessel on 1st June, 2011.

It has come to light from the Office Memorandum dated May 2011 that Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF)’s Standing Monitoring Committee (SMC) on Shipbreaking has suggested that since Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and Customs were not able to verify the authenticity/genuineness of ship’s registry/flag in the fast in respect of some ships referred to them, this task in respect of each ship may be referred to the Directorate General Shipping, Ministry of Shipping ought to undertake such verification henceforth. The GMB officials informed MoEF that “the suggestion of the committee isacceptable to them subject to such verification by DG Shipping is done within a period of 2 working days. If no information is received from the DG Shipping within 2 working days, it will be presumed that the certificate submitted is authentic and genuine.” TWA disapproves of such presumption of genuineness of fabricated documents. It demands that documents of some 120 dead ships currently on Alang Beach, Bhavnagar, Gujarat must be investigated.

The Committee observed that “at present there is no single point access to the yards and therefore, hazardous waste is being illegally dumped at various places. It was suggested to have a single point access to the yards in order stop such illegal dumping activity.”

It has come to light from the report of the site visit of the committee that they visited the existing Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage & Disposal Facility (TSDF) site and it was observed that the existing cell is almost full. TWA has confirmed it from the sources in the ship breaking industry that the TSDF is full. The report of the site visit by SMC is attached.

Before it was filled up Gujarat Enviro Protection and Infrastructure Ltd (GEPIL), Alang Unit has been operating and maintaining Common Hazardous waste TSDF on behalf of GMB, since October’ 2005.The site was constructed and developed by GMB. GEPIL was awarded this TSDF for Operation and Maintenance through competitive Bidding Process in September’ 2005. Its total Notified Area is 7 hectares. The site is situated at Alang Ship breaking yard. It is designed to collect, transport, Receipt, Store, treat and dispose off wide range of hazardous waste. GEPIL (Alang Unit) is also associated with Sweeping, collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of Municipal wastes generated during the ship breaking activities. GEPIL (Unit Alang) has been providing its services to more than 80 industries of region. The facility receives wastes from Ship breaking and Ship recycling industrial sectors. In its myopia GMB has suggested that “they may raise the height of the embankment of the cell and compress the existing material to enhance its capacity within designed parameters. This work needs to be taken up on urgent basis to ensure that this facility is available to shipbreakers at the existing site at least for another one year.”

I submit that the creation of such facilities for hazardous wastes that originated in developed countries cannot be approved. The million dollar question is that even if this is done what happens after one year and the year thereafter. Will Bhavnagar become a Hazardous Waste TSDF capital for the ship owning companies and countries in order to appear vibrant to the developed world?

Given the emergency situation that has emerged for the GMB, the SMC informed to the stakeholders that without the TSDF facility the shipbreaking activities should not be allowed by the GPCB as per the Supreme Court directions. It is evident to TWA that the shipbreaking activity that is currently in operation is happening in the absence of TSDF, thus, in clear violation of the Court’s directions.

I submit that SMC has recommended that “ship breaking yard shall not commence breaking of the ship till such time proper decontamination certificate is issued by GPCB after thorough inspection.” This recommendation does not take cognizance of Hon'ble Court's order that reads, "(16) At the international level, India should participate in international meetings on ship-breaking at the level of the International Maritime Organisation and the Basel Convention's Technical Working Group with a clear mandate for the decontamination of ships of their hazardous sub-stances such as asbestos, waste oil, gas and PCBs, prior to export to India for breaking." One of the fourteen Terms of Reference on which the High Powered Committee was to give its report and recommendations "Decontamination of ships before they are exported to India for breaking.” The apex court's order endorsed Basel Convention.

SMC has suggested that monitoring of asbestos in ambient air at shipbreaking yards on Alang beach “shall be commissioned by GMB for carrying out the same by a reputed institute like NIOH, as a one time study.” TWA has been demanding that asbestos cannot be handled safely or in a controlled manner. Therefore, International Labour Organisation’s resolution of June 2006 and World Health Organisation’s resolution of 2005 seek elimination of future use of asbestos. Indian workers in general and migrant workers of Alang should not be made to handle asbestos under any situation.

I wish to demand that Gujarat Pollution Board (GPCB) should be asked to make its study for sea water and sediment analysis public so that the extent of pollution at Alang beach can be comprehended.

It is also demanded that the funds collected by GMB and Steel Ministry’s Ferrous Scrap Committee (FSC) must be used for remediation and decontamination of Alang beach and for workers and villagers’ environmental and occupational health rights.
In view of the above facts, no new dead vessel should be allowed at least until the situation is remedied.

It is noteworthy that this is a 29 year-old dead ship that is likely to enter Indian maritime boundary after Bangladesh refused its entry. The ship was anchored off the coast of the southern port of Chittagong, Bangladesh on September 19, 2011.

This end of life ship is laden hazardous substances including asbestos, polychlorinated biphenyl, toxic paints and chemical residues that have a wide range of adverse effects on humans, wildlife and the environment. If dismantled, the ship would expose workers and the environment to hazards.

This is to alert the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, port authorities, DG Shipping, IMC on Shipbreaking, Gujarat Maritime Board, Gujarat Pollution Control Board, Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the coast guards about the hazardous ship and to urge you not to allow it enter this hazardous wastes laden Chinese ship for dumping in Indian waters in the name of dismantling.

I submit that since 1983 when ship breaking activity started on Alang beach in Gujarat, India till date, it is a journey from bad to worse. Workers on the Alang beach live in a "slave like condition".

I submit that if embargo by ship owners and ship breakers on media and external researchers is removed, the world will witness that here is a place where slavery is practiced with impunity. These migrant workers from North and East India are blatantly discriminated against by officials and ship breakers. The Alang beach has become one of the most polluted places in the world.

I wish to inform you that between January 2011 and September 2011, 27 workers died in industrial accidents. No government agency has acted to ensure and secure justice for these workers. Ship owning countries are dumping their end-of-life vessels. Such transfer of harm to South Asian beaches of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

It is an illustration of the colossal failure of all concerned government agencies is most evident from the fact that while accident rate in ship breaking is the worst among all the industrial sectors still there is no hospital in Alang. This has been recorded in the report of the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights. The UN Special Rapporteur and Stefano Sensi, Human Rights Officer, UN Human Rights Council visited a number of shipbreaking yards accompanied by TWA among others. TWA is an applicant in the Supreme Court of India and has campaigned against end of life vessels like Le Clemenceau, MV RIKY (Kong Fredrick IX), SS Blue Lady (SS France, SS Norway), Platinum II (MV Oceanic, SS Independence) and many others.

It was during the Platinum II scandal that Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, the Special Rapporteur visited India. He said, “In order to ascertain the environmental impact of the shipbreaking industry, I recommend that an independent study be carried out to assess the actual and potential adverse effects that may be caused by the discharge of hazardous material into the natural environment, as well as the level of risk”. This has not been done so far.

I submit that the Special Rapporteur has noted that he was “shocked by the extremely poor conditions in which most workers live in Alang and Mumbai”. Semi-skilled and unskilled workers live in makeshift facilities lacking basic sanitation facilities, electricity and even safe drinking water. “I call on Governmental authorities to provide appropriate plots of lands, and facilitate the construction of adequate housing facilities for those who work in the yards. Adequate sanitation and drinking water facilities should also be put in place”. Special Rapporteur's report was presented to the UN Human Rights Council.

I wish to inform you that TWA, environmental and labour groups have termed the Convention on Ship Recycling/breaking adopted by International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as anti-worker, anti-environment and anti-local community. The Convention does nothing to stop dead ships like the Chinese ship in question.

It is surprising as to why the ship was never detained despite being detected with many deficiencies by Port authorities at different ports.

It has been revealed in recent times that Alang has become a fake document factory and authorities in Gujarat have stated in writing that they do not have the competence to detect fake documents. As a result dead ships like MV Asia Union are faking pre-cleaning certificates and other clearance certificates.

This is to urge you to deny entry of this Chinese ship and other such ships on environmental health grounds.

Thanking You
Yours Faithfully
Gopal Krishna
Convener
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
New Delhi
Tel:91-11-65663958, Fax: 91-11-26517814, Mb: 9818089660
Email:krishna2777@gmail.com, Web: imowatch.blogspot.com

Cc/
Union Minister of Shipping
Union Minister of Environment & Forests
Secretary, Union Ministry of Defence
Secretary, Union Ministry of Home Affairs
Secretary, Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry
Union Minister of Steel
Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests
Secretary, Ministry of Shipping
Secretary, Ministry of Labour
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forests (HSMD)
Joint Secretary, Ministry of Steel
Dr Saroj, Director, Ministry of Environment & Forests
Members of Standing Monitoring Committee on Ship breaking
Dr Claude Alvares, Member, Supreme Court's Monitoring Committee (SCMC) on
Hazardous Wastes

16/09/2011

Global & Indian Trade Unions Unable to Help Migrant Workers of Alang Beach

Since 1983 when ship breaking activity started on Alang beach in Gujarat, India till date, its a journey from bad to worse. Workers on the Alang beach live in a "slave like condition".

If embargo by ship owners and ship breakers on media and external researchers is removed, the world will witness that here is a place where slavery is practiced with impunity. These migrant workers from North and East India are blatantly discriminated against by Gujarati and Maharashtrian politicians, officials and ship breakers. They suffer from the racist attitude of the local population as well.

All the trade unions who do some work for migrant workers involved in the ship breaking activity in India on the ground are under tremendous influence of ship breakers and shipowners. Some ship breakers have revealed that the trade union is tolerated because they help negotiate wages.

Whichever trade union talks on behalf of migrant workers must reveal as to what they have done to safe guard the occupational and environmental health of workers.

They must be asked as to what is their position on the ongoing contamination of Alang beach. For how long will the beach and its fragile coastal environment be turned into a grave yard of workers.

Between January 2011 and September 2011, 27 workers died in industrial accidents. The trade union or whoever claims to be working for the migrant workers of Alang beach must reveal as to what they have done to secure justice for these workers.

Ship owning countries are dumping their end-of-life vessels. Trade unions engaged with industrial activity on Alang beach must state what is their position on transfer of harm to South Asian beaches of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

Trade unions working in Alang have failed to ensure even clean drinking water. Their colossal failure is most evident from the fact that while accident rate in ship breaking is the worst among all the industrial sector still there is no hospital in Alang. This has been recorded in the report of the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the adverse effects of the movement and dumping of toxic and dangerous products and wastes on the enjoyment of human rights. The UN Special Rapporteur and Stefano Sensi, Human Rights Officer, UN Human Rights Council visited a number of shipbreaking yards accompanied by ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) among others. TWA is an applicant in the Supreme Court of India and has campaigned against end of life vessels like Le Clemenceau, MV RIKY (Kong Fredrick IX), SS Blue Lady (SS France, SS Norway), Platinum II (MV Oceanic, SS Independence) and many others.

It was during the Platinum II scandal that Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, the Special Rapporteur visited India. He said, “In order to ascertain the environmental impact of the shipbreaking industry, I recommend that an independent study be carried out to assess the actual and potential adverse effects that may be caused by the discharge of hazardous material into the natural environment, as well as the level of risk”.

The Special Rapporteur has noted that he was “shocked by the extremely poor conditions in which most workers live in Alang and Mumbai”. Semi-skilled and unskilled workers live in makeshift facilities lacking basic sanitation facilities, electricity and even safe drinking water. “I call on Governmental authorities to provide appropriate plots of lands, and facilitate the construction of adequate housing facilities for those who work in the yards. Adequate sanitation and drinking water facilities should also be put in place”. Special Rapporteur's report was presented to the UN Human Rights Council.

Will global trade unions and their Indian affiliates explain what have they done to stop the abuse of migrant workers? What is their position on the enviro-occupational health of migrant workers and the IMO's Convention on Ship Recycling/breaking which is anti-worker, anti-environment and anti-local community?

It is high time all civil rights, labour rights and environmental rights groups joined hands to intervene in a meaningful way beyond donor driven routine seminars and conferences for visible change on the ground because there cannot be 'national' environmentalism or labor rights movement. It must be holistic in spirit to combat the cannibalistic propensity of the ship owning companies which is making governmental and UN regulatory agencies subservient to lust for naked profit at any human and ecological cost unmindful of inter-generational inequity it perpetuates.

Gopal Krishna
Convener
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
Web: imowatch.blogspot.com
Mb: 09818089660
E-mail; krishna2777@gmail.com

Custom seizes Greece flagged ship at Alang for undervaluation

Bhavnagar, Sep 16 (PTI) Customs sleuths today seized a Greece flagged ship coming from Singapore to the ship breaking yard at Alang here for dismantling, allegedly for
misdeclaration of value.

"A made in China ship -- Syros -- bearing the flag of Greece, which had come from Singapore to Alang has been seized under the Customs Act for misdeclaration of value. The vessel was purchased by Bansal International Ltd here," a customs official told PTI.

"The price of the vessel has been undervalued in the bill of entry to evade customs duty," he said. The vessel of around 12,232 DWT was docked recently on plot no. 1 of the Alang ship breaking yard, the largest ship breaking yard in Asia.

"Customs sleuths have contended that declaration of over USD 500 per DWT as price of the vessel by the buyer was undervalued," official sources said.

08/09/2011

Deaths on Alang Beach till September 2011

So far this year on Alang beach, Bhavnagar, Gujarat, 27 workers have died due to the criminal callousness of ship owning countries, companies, ship breakers, Gujarat Maritime Board, Directorate General of Shipping, Ministry of Steel, Ministry of Environment & Forests, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, Basel Convention Secretariat and International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

When there are some many countries, companies and agencies to be blamed, how will these workers get justice?

What is the condition of one of world's most polluted place, Alang Beach?

ToxicsWatch Alliance holds hypocrisy of countries and companies from developed world like Japan and European Union and USA along with the collusion of Indian political class responsible for the death of these workers.

Deaths in Alang are caused by corporate terrorism of shipping companies which bigger and more powerful than Government of India, Parliament of India and UN agencies.

07/08/2011

Mumbai’s Coastal Ecology Faces Oil Spill Disaster Like Gujarat’s Alang Beach

Press Note

Mumbai’s Coastal Ecology Faces Oil Spill Disaster Like Gujarat’s Alang Beach

New Delhi: The leakage of oil from Panama flagged ship MV Rak once again reveals that repeated reminders of Indian Coast Guard (ICG) to the Inter-ministerial Committees did not have any effect on Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Home Affairs that remains quite weak in regulating transboundary movement of ships in Indian waters. The responsibility of Coast Guard lies beyond port limits but Director-General, ICG has the overall responsibility for appropriate response to oil spill incidents. This has created a situation where Government of India remains unprepared to deal with oil pollution.

The ship owner, of MV Rak, the ship manager and the local ship agent have been issued notices under sections 356 J & K of Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 that gives the “Power to give notice to owner, etc of polluting ships” and “Power to take measures for preventing or containing oil pollution” respectively. The Directorate General of Shipping is making efforts to contact the owner and insurer of the ship.

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), an applicant in the hazardous wastes case in the Supreme Court has been demanding that ships should not be allowed in Indian waters without the name of Port of Registry, Name and address of ship owner, IMO registered owner identification number and IMO company identification Number unless this is done no seller will be traceable. (Refer to Appendix 4 of Hongkong Convention, page no. 39).TWA has written to Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider measures that
can be taken by the Government to tackle corruption and the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture in this regard. (the letters are given below)

The Director-General, ICG is the chairman of the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency

Plan (NOS-DCP) which was promulgated in the year 1996 and approved by the Committee of Secretaries to Government of India designating Coast Guard as the Central Coordination Authority. The NOSDCP was promulgated to all agencies after consent of related ministries during1996. It was updated in 2008. It is reliably learnt that ICG does not have the capability to detect, monitor and neutralise HNS type of marine pollution. While coastal security is duty of the Indian Navy, marine pollution is ICG’s responsibility. National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan was intended to delineate entire national preparedness and response system including both public and private resources for responding to oil spill emergency and provide the basic frame work and guidelines for a national response to oil spills at sea.

After the promulgation of NOS-DCP, ICG responded to 68 oil spill incidents in Indian waters and claimed recovery charges worth Rs.8.13 Crores towards cleanup cost till 2008.

Indian Coast Guard Act of 1978, and the Merchant Shipping Act of 1958 (amended in 1990 for oil pollution, and later amended in 2003 for Hazardous & Noxious Substances [HNS] pollution), the Indian Coast Guard mandated as the focal point for countering marine pollution regulate oil spill incidents.

It is relevant to note that the Sixteenth National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOS-DCP) and Preparedness meeting was held at Hotel Presidency, Kochi on 19 Apr 2011. Vice Admiral Anil Chopra AVSM, Director General Indian Coast Guard who chaired the meeting recalled the “oil response operations undertaken to MV MSC Chitra oil spill incident …in the cleanup operations to bring back the Coastline of Maharashtra close to the pre spill state. The Chairman NOSDCP also highlighted on the oil spill incidents that occurred in Indian water since the last NOSDCP, such as, oil spill from MV Tiger spring at Kolkata, the ONGC pipeline leakage, the minor spill by MV Ratna Urvi at Haldia and the oil spill from MV Mirach which sank off Kanyakumari in April 2011.” These incidents reveal that unless Zero Tolerance Policy is adopted against irresponsible and dubious ships our coastal ecology will continue to face irreparable assaults.

Oil spill is covered under Hazardous & Noxious Substances (HNS) Protocol of 2010 to the International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea, 1996. It was adopted on April 30, 2010. India is yet to ratify the Protocol. HNS are defined by reference to lists of substances included in various IMO Conventions and Codes. These include oils; other liquid substances defined as noxious or dangerous; liquefied gases; liquid substances with a flashpoint not exceeding 60°C; dangerous, hazardous and harmful materials and substances carried in packaged form; and solid bulk materials defined as possessing chemical hazards. The Convention also covers residues left by the previous carriage of HNS, other than those carried in packaged form.

Under the 2010 Protocol, if damage is caused by bulk HNS, compensation would first be sought from the shipowner, up to a maximum limit of 100 million Special Drawing Rights (SDR). 1 SDR is an equivalent of Rs 71.417900 as of August 5, 2011. Where damage is caused by packaged HNS, or by both bulk HNS and packaged HNS, the maximum liability for the shipowner is 115 million SDR. Once this limit is reached, compensation would be paid from a second tier, the HNS Fund, up to a maximum of 250 million SDR (including compensation paid under the first tier). According to IMO norms, Marine pollution due to oil spills are categorised as follows:Tier 1: Below 700 tonnes of oil, Tier 2: Between 700 to 10,000 tonnes and Tier 3: 10,000 to 100,000 tonnes. India does not have the capacity to counter this spills over 100,000 tonnes. Once the extent of oil spill is determined due MV Rak, it would be clear as to what Tier it belongs to. NOS-DCP requires amendment to include HNS protocol of the IMO.

There is a compelling logic for Ministry of Shipping to legislate that all ships visiting Indian ports must have a comprehensive oil-cum-HNS pollution insurance with a reputed company so that clean-up operations are not paid for by the Indian taxpayer and ship owners who commit environmental crimes are made liable. India has a coastline of 7500 km. It has 11major, 20 intermediate and 144 minor ports. Replies given by Shipping Minister in the Parliament has revealed that most of our ports are vulnerable to assaults by vested interests and conniving ship owning companies who indulge in dubious activities to escape liability. Indian response to oil spills and the US response to oil spill in Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010 present a contrast.

Earlier, Ministry of Defence was the nodal agency for coordination in the matter of Oil Spill, now the Ministry of Home Affairs is the nodal agency. Repeated failure to detect and obviate ship related accidents and entry of obsolete ships on fake documents in Indian waters provides a rationale for the Ministry of Defence to be reassigned the responsibility.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance, Mb: 9818089660, E-mail: krishna2777@gmail.com, Web: imowatch.blogspot.com

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gopal Krishna
Date: Sun, Aug 7, 2011 at 8:01 PM
Subject: Fwd: Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters
To: rsc-tt@sansad.nic.in
Cc: pkarunakaranmp@gmail.com, s.a.pasha@sansad.nic.in, nagendraks@sansad.nic.in, jagdishk@sansad.nic.in, swarabji.b@sansad.nic.in


To

Shri Sitaram Yechury
Chairman
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism & Culture
New Delhi

Through RAJYA SABHA SECRETARIAT


Subject-Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters

Sir,

This is to draw your attention to my letter to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and Cabinet Committee on Security in the matter of the entry of unmanned 21-year-old and 2,000-tonnne vessel MT Pavit with flag of Panama entered Indian waters in an apparent collaboration with the UK and US Defence agencies. (the letter is given below)

I also wish to draw your attention towards the sinking of MV Rak Carrier that was built in 1984 with IMO NO 8106745. This vessel that reportedly drifted about 20 Miles Off Mumbai on 4th August, 2011 also has a Panama flag.

I submit that it is apprehended that the 225 meters long Cargo Ship MV Rak Carrier carrying on board 60,000 tonnes of coal for Adani Enterprise Limited (AEL) was near India's Mumbai coast on the afternoon of 4th August, 2011 to claim insurance money for its cargo of 60054 MT cargo of coal on board unmindful of its ecological consequences and the hazardous nature for the ship itself. The real owner of the company which owns the ship is not known. It has been reported that it is owned by M/s. Delta Shipping Marine Services, a Qatar based company. There is a need to pierce the corporate veil behind this company to find out the real motives of such ship owners.

I submit that your committee may consider undertaking a inquiry into the dubious goings on in the shipping sector and the failure of Shipping Ministry in general and DG Shipping in particular.

I submit that the current presumption of genuineness of fabricated documents must be rejected urgently. I suggest that the documents of more than 100 ships that have entered or have been sunk must be investigated and their ownership be traced. This could be the first step in securing our environmental and maritime security which has been compromised by hazardous wastes traders and other vested interests.

I will be happy to share all the documents based on which I have made the above submissions.

Thanking You

Yours Faithfully
Gopal Krishna
Convener
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
New Delhi
Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480
E-mail:krishna2777@gmail.com
Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, imowatch.blogspot.com




---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gopal Krishna
Date: Fri, Aug 5, 2011 at 11:11 AM
Subject: Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters
To: cabinetsy@nic.in
Cc: manmohan@sansad.nic.in, pkm@sansad.nic.in, hm@nic.in, anto.antony@sansad.nic.in, anto.antony@ymail.com


To

Dr Manmohan Singh
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA)
Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS)
Government of India
New Delhi

Through Cabinet Secretary, Government of India

Subject-Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters

Sir,

This is to draw your immediate attention the entry of unmanned 21-year-old and 2,000-tonnne vessel MT Pavit with flag of Panama entered Indian waters in an apparent collaboration with the UK and US Defence agencies. Is it a coincidence that MV Rak Carrier that was built in 1984 with IMO NO 8106745 and has reportedly drifted about 20 Miles Off Mumbai on 4th August, 2011 also has a Panama flag?

The papers relied upon to prepare this letter are attached.

I wish to inform you that the vessel MT Pavit was built in Japan in 1990. It has flags of Comoros, located off the eastern coast of Africa and Panama southernmost country of Central America. It was last dry docked in August 2010.

I submit that M.V. “Global Purity” with a Panama flag reportedly had a collision on 23/3/2010 at Mumbai port. M.V. “MSC Chitra” which reportedly had a collision on too had flag of Panama at Mumbai port on 7/8/2010. The Panama flag merits probe.

I wish to draw your attention towards our Ministry of Defence's statement issued on July 31, 2011 stating, “Coast Guard MRCC (Mb) received information from MRCC Falmouth on 29 Jun 11 regarding drifting of MT PAVIT 110 nm from Ras al Madrakah Oman coast due to engine failure and ingress of water in engine room. Subsequently MT Jag Pushpa flagged India was diverted by UK MRCC to render assistance. MT Jag Pushpa rescued all 13 crew and brought to Sikka (a port in Gujarat). On 31 Jul 11 at about 1200 hrs Coast Guard Region Headquarters (West) received telephonic information from Juhu police regarding grounding of MT Pavit off Versova beach opposite Ruia park / Chandan cinema” in Mumbai. It reveals that the vessel has been drifting since June 29, 2011. The statement informed that “Coast Guard ship Amrit Kaur and helicopter ex 842 Sqn (CG) were deployed for preliminary assessment. The vessel was assessed to have been grounded at Juhu beach without any apparent damage. The vessel is double bottom and is having 10 mt Fuel oil and 10 mt Gas oil. (30 metric ton according to DG Shipping). Owner of vessel intimated vessel was reported sunk immediately on abandoning on 30 Jun / 01 Jul 11. The company is in the process of engaging salvor for removal of vessel from beach.”

The question is: when did it leave Sikka port and when it left the port was it with the crew or without crew? Who issued the port clearance at Sikka port. How it came to Sikka and how it left the port? The statement of the owner has been found to be untruthful by the officials too.The traceability of owner is a question, on behalf of ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), I have raised the issue repeatedly with concerned authorities but no action has been taken.

In another statement dated 31st July, 2011, Directorate General Shipping stated, “Today afternoon, this Directorate was informed that this vessel was seen drifting off the 7 bunglows beach area. Immediately, the coast guard and Navy were alerted and more information being gathered. The vessel's name is MT Pavit (IMO No. 9016636), 999 tons GT, Flag Panama type product tanker, classed with RINA and built 1990 ran aground off Versova Beach in position 19 07.11N / 072 45.9E. The Owners of the vessel are reported to be M/s Pavit Shipping Lines, Dubai, and Managers are Ms Prime Tankers LLC, Dubai. MT PAVIT was reportedly abandoned off Oman Coast on the 29th of June. 13 crew members, all Indians were on board who were rescued by a ship of Great Eastern shipping and a US naval warship on 29th June 2011 and brought to Kandla port. The vessel is reported to be without cargo. However, she is reported to have a total of about 30 MT of fuel/diesel/Lube oil. ETV Smit Lumba has already moved towards the MT Pavit to render emergency towing operations. This Directorate would carry out the statuatory inquiry to this incident.”

The question is: When the ship was abandoned “off Oman Coast on the 29th of June” then how did it come to Sikka? Whether the ownership of the ship was verified at the port. What was the purpose of the ship to come to Kandla, which is not a port for oil cargo. Before leaving Kandla, what cargo did it discharge and what cargo was loaded on it for the voyage. When it left Kandla did, the vessel get port clearance? When did the vessel become unmanned?.

I submit that so far Indian Ministry of Defence or Directorate General Shipping has not been able to disclose that UK’s Ministry of Defence rescued MT Pavit vessel as per its report dated 1st July, 2011. The question that remains undisclosed is: who is the owner of the real owner of this abandoned ship. (Statement from UK’s Ministry of Defence is attached). How did it reach Indian waters after its rescue by one of the ships of UK’s Royal Navy ship named HMS St Albans? This merits high level probe.

In a related statement dated 2nd August, 2011 from DG Shipping says, “A review meeting by the Directorate General of Shipping in the capacity Maritime Assistance Service (MAS) was held with the key Coastal State Authorities namely Indian Coast Guard, Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), the charterers, the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), including the managers representative (Prime Tankers, Dubai), Local Correspondent of P & I Club and salvage companies showing expression of interest” wherein “The owners and manager i.e Prime Tankers has sent their representative to participate in the review meeting today. The Directorate has directed the owner / manager Prime Tankers to confirm their action plan to remove /salvage the grounded vessel immediately. The owners / managers were advised to seek the salvage services either from managers of the ETV or make their own arrangements at their cost, risk, and consequences. In the event of no response from the owner / manager, the Directorate General of Shipping can invoke Section 356 K of the Merchant Shipping Act 1958 and take up salvage operations with cost being recovered from the owner / manager. The local P & I club correspondent stated that the vessel is not having valid P & I cover against third party liabilities.”

It further states, “The District Administration has also been requested to issue notice to the owner, manager and underwriters etc. under Section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 as this vessel is become public nuisance. The investigation by the Police Authorities under Section 336 of the Indian Penal Code is in progress. The Flag Administration of the ship Panama and the Coastal Authority of Oman are being notified that the vessel has not sunk as reported earlier and therefore, they would be requested to conduct investigation under the relevant International Law and share vital information and findings in respect of safety of navigation and other related issues with the Indian Administration. The Indian Maritime Administration, District Authority including MMB and Indian Coast Guard are concerned about the safety of the ship and any damage to the Marine environment. In view of this, continuous monitoring is in progress and efforts are on for earliest removal of the ship.”

I submit that the ship must be sent back to the country of its origin at the cost of the owner to set an example for such culprits in future.

It has been reported that it is inexplicable as to how the Navy, responsible for security beyond 12 nautical miles; the Coast Guard, which patrols the zone between 5 and 12 nautical miles; and the newly created maritime police failed to detect the entry of this foreign vessel in Indian waters and it entered undetected by the three-tier security ring. Now it appears clear that the vessel was brought to Indian waters in close collaboration between the UK Ministry of US Defence Administration.

In a similar fashion, Singapore-flagged MV Wisdom (IMO Number: 8417558) had got stuck on Juhu beach, Mumabi in June, 2011. The vessel was successfully tugged away from Juhu beach on July 2 and resumed its journey to Alang beach, Gujarat where it reached on 19th July, 2011. There is need to examine its history and liability too. This vessel underwent 14 name changes in her life and no one knows how many owners. Is it not a reason to suspect its antecedents?

I submit that the corporate veil of M/s. Delta Shipping Marine Services, Qatar, owner of MV Rak Carrier, M/s Pavit Shipping Lines, Dubai, owner of MT Pavit, owner of MV Wisdom which was purchased by a consortium of Indian ship breakers in Singapore must be pierced to set matters right.

I submit that ships are routinely abandoned by unscrupulous ship owners when they have reached end-of-life or have become sea worthy or when they are dubious in order to hide the identity of the ship owning companies and to save them from its potential liability. Interpol's Environmental Crime and Pollution Crime Units may also be approached in this regard.

It is germane to pay attention to the minutes of a meeting of Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC), “Security concerns” about obsolete foreign ships entering Indian waters were expressed. The minutes dated on 8th July, 2011reads: “The representative of Coast Guard brought to the notice of IMC that various foreign made communication equipment like emergency beacons brought on board of the ships and taken to breaking yards are not properly deactivated before dismantling the ships. The Coast Guard expressed concern from security angle as there were a few incidents of false alarms emanating from such equipments. The Chairman, IMC directed the Customs representative and SRIA to take note of the concerns of the Coast Guard and ensure that all such equipments are properly deactivated.” Earlier, a 2004 report of the Directorate of Naval Intelligence filed in the Supreme Court recorded that "some ships arriving at the breaking yards...may be involved in nefarious activities". The report had warned, "Apparently, a large number of cash buyers are Pakistani nationals based in London and the UAE. Due to large profit margins, the Dawood group appears to have invested heavily in cash buyers thus having a stake in most deals". It noted that this "can lead to clandestine collection of data, survey of seabed and coastal area, weather and meteorological data and for dropping and picking agents". The report had recommended that Ministry of Defence must give clearance to all such ships but this has not been complied with.

Among others G.K. Panda of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), Mumbai, Cmdr Palvinder Singh, Joint Director (Security), Ministry of Defence (Navy), Cmdt H. Nautiyal, JD (FE), Indian Coast Guards Headquarters, New Delhi and S.S. Gadkar of DG Shipping, Mumbai were present at the meeting. The 13th meeting of the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) on ship breaking was held under Chairmanship of Shri S. Machendranathan, Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Steel & Chairman, IMC on Ship Breaking at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

The minutes read: “Regarding the concerns raised on false flag certification, the DG, Shipping representative suggested to all concerned to check up the database available with the website, ‘equasis.org.’ and to approach the DG, Shipping if details are not available therein, for exceptional reporting cases. It was also clarified by GMB that the requisite information would also be sent to MOD.”

It is noteworthy that “Equasis only shows ships in service.” The fact that M V Pavit is not revealed on this website too shows that the vessel was decommissioned, was end-of-life or abandoned to escape liability environmental liability. Essentially, such vessels are hazardous wastes which are transferred by industrialized and ship owning countries and their companies to developing countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in blatant violation of Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal with impunity. It is also applicable to to hazardous wastes and other wastes generated on board ships . US is not a party to this Convention and EU and UK are undermining this hard earned UN law by supporting IMO’s Hongkong Convention on ship recycling/dismantling which is unlikely to come into force. EU and UK by downplaying their own legislations in order to facilitate transfer of hazardous wastes laden end-of-life vessels and are indulging in linguistic corruption in the Free Trade Agreements under negotiation to this end.

“Any transboundary movement (TBM) that takes place without the pertinent notifications to all the States concerned or the consent pursuant to the Convention, or when such consent is obtained through falsification, misrepresentation or fraud, it is considered illegal traffic under the Basel Convention . Illegal traffic also occurs when the transboundary movement does not conform in a material way with the documents or when it results in the dumping of hazardous wastes or other wastes in violation of the Convention and of general principles of international law. The fact that Parties (to the Convnetion) consider that illegal traffic is a crime says a lot about how serious the international community is to ensure that the TBM and ESM (environmentally sound management) requirements of the Convention are respected.”

TWA demands that no ship whether for dismantling or for shipping or in disguise of accidental snapping of towing cable of vessels be allowed in Indian waters without the name of Port of Registry, Name and address of ship owner, IMO registered owner identification number and IMO company identification Number unless this is done no seller will be traceable. (Refer to Appendix 4 of Hongkong Convention, page no. 39). As an applicant in the Supreme Court in a related matter of hazardous wastes/shipbreaking, TWA has repeatedly written to the IMC and other concerned agencies regarding the same.

TWA demands that all the details regarding the probe in the matter of MV Wisdom be put on website and the information regarding inquiry with deadlines in the matter M V Pavit be put on website for transparency because it is apprehended that there are some senior government officials who have mastered the art of collusion with transnational ship owning companies to allow obsolete vessels in the Indian waters. TWA had disclosed an Office Memorandum No.29-3/2009-HSMD, Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests, (HSM Division) dated 9th May, 2011 relating to implementation of Supreme Court directions in respect of ship breaking activities, wherein it has been admitted that the issue regarding the submission of fake certificates by the ship owners/agents remains unresolved. (Site Report attached)

It has come to light from the Office Memorandum dated May 2011 that Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF)’s Standing Monitoring Committee (SMC) on Shipbreaking has suggested that since Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and Customs were not able to verify the authenticity/genuineness of ship’s registry/flag in the fast in respect of some ships referred to them, this task in respect of each ship may be referred to the Directorate General Shipping, Ministry of Shipping ought to undertake such verification henceforth. The GMB officials informed MoEF that “the suggestion of the committee is acceptable to them subject to such verification by DG Shipping is done within a period of 2 working days. If no information is received from the DG Shipping within 2 working days, it will be presumed that the certificate submitted is authentic and genuine.” The recent incidents have shown that it is applicable to ships entering Mumbai coast zone as well.

While in a routine reaction, the Directorate has ordered statutory inquiry into these incidents, this not sufficient. A Group of Ministers on Corruption should examine the flourishing Black Economy in the matter end of life and abandoned vessels at the behest of ship owning countries and companies. The role of flag states must be investigated under the prevailing national and international law.

I submit that US toxic ship Platinum although indicted by US Environmental Protection Agency was dumped in India despite objection from Indian Environment Ministry following my complaint and documentary proof of forged documents due to apparent indulgence of some in Ministry of Shipping and Gujarat Maritime Board.

I submit that such presumption of genuineness of fabricated documents must be rejected urgently. I suggest that the documents of more than 100 ships that have entered or have been sunk must be investigated and their ownership be traced. This could be the first step in securing our environmental and maritime security which has been compromised by hazardous wastes traders and other vested interests.

I will be happy to share all the documents based on which I have made the above submissions.

Thanking You

Yours Faithfully
Gopal Krishna
Convener
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
New Delhi
Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480
E-mail:krishna2777@gmail.com
Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, imowatch.blogspot.com

Cc
Shri Pranab Mukherjee, Chairman, Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider measures that
can be taken by the Government to tackle corruption, Member, CCEA and CCS

Shri A.K. Antony, Minister of Defence, Member, CCS, CCEA, Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider measures that can be taken by the Government to tackle corruption

Shri P. Chidambaram, Minister of Home Affairs, Member, CCS, CCEA and Group of Ministers (GoM) to consider measures that can be taken by the Government to tackle corruption

Ban Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters

To

Shri Sitaram Yechury
Chairman
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism & Culture
New Delhi

Through RAJYA SABHA SECRETARIAT


Subject-Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters

Sir,

This is to draw your attention to my letter to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs and Cabinet Committee on Security in the matter of the entry of unmanned 21-year-old and 2,000-tonnne vessel MT Pavit with flag of Panama entered Indian waters in an apparent collaboration with the UK and US Defence agencies. (the letter is given below)

I also wish to draw your attention towards the sinking of MV Rak Carrier that was built in 1984 with IMO NO 8106745. This vessel that reportedly drifted about 20 Miles Off Mumbai on 4th August, 2011 also has a Panama flag.

I submit that it is apprehended that the 225 meters long Cargo Ship MV Rak Carrier carrying on board 60,000 tonnes of coal for Adani Enterprise Limited (AEL) was near India's Mumbai coast on the afternoon of 4th August, 2011 to claim insurance money for its cargo of 60054 MT cargo of coal on board unmindful of its ecological consequences and the hazardous nature for the ship itself. The real owner of the company which owns the ship is not known. It has been reported that it is owned by M/s. Delta Shipping Marine Services, a Qatar based company. There is a need to pierce the corporate veil behind this company to find out the real motives of such ship owners.

I submit that your committee may consider undertaking a inquiry into the dubious goings on in the shipping sector and the failure of Shipping Ministry in general and DG Shipping in particular.

I submit that the current presumption of genuineness of fabricated documents must be rejected urgently. I suggest that the documents of more than 100 ships that have entered or have been sunk must be investigated and their ownership be traced. This could be the first step in securing our environmental and maritime security which has been compromised by hazardous wastes traders and other vested interests.

I will be happy to share all the documents based on which I have made the above submissions.

Thanking You

Yours Faithfully
Gopal Krishna
Convener
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)
New Delhi
Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480
E-mail:krishna2777@gmail.com
Web: toxicswatch.blogspot.com, imowatch.blogspot.com

03/08/2011

UK’s Ministry of Defence rescued MT Pavit, US Defence Warship brought it to Kandla

Press Note

UK’s Ministry of Defence rescued MT Pavit, US Defence Warship brought it to Kandla

MT Pavit’s Transboundary movement Compromises Environmental & Maritime Security

TWA Demands Ban on Dumping of Hazardous Obsolete Ships in Indian Waters

August 3, 2011 New Delhi: So far Indian Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Shipping have failed to reveal as to how did the unmanned 21-year-old and 2,000-tonnne vessel MT Pavit entered Indian waters in an apparent collaboration with the UK and US Defence agencies amid connivance by the UN’s Basel Convention Secretariat and UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO). MT Pavit built in Japan in 1990 has flags of Comoros, located off the eastern coast of Africa and Panama southernmost country of Central America. It was last dry docked in August 2010. Earlier, US toxic ship Platinum although indicted by US Environmental Protection Agency was dumped in India despite objection from Indian Environment Ministry.

Indian Ministry of Defence in a statement issued on July 31, 2011 states, “Coast Guard MRCC (Mb) received information from MRCC Falmouth on 29 Jun 11 regarding drifting of MT PAVIT 110 nm from Ras al Madrakah Oman coast due to engine failure and ingress of water in engine room. Subsequently MT Jag Pushpa flagged India was diverted by UK MRCC to render assistance. MT Jag Pushpa rescued all 13 crew and brought to Sikka (a port in Gujarat). On 31 Jul 11 at about 1200 hrs Coast Guard Region Headquarters (West) received telephonic information from Juhu police regarding grounding of MT Pavit off Versova beach opposite Ruia park / Chandan cinema” in Mumbai. It reveals that the vessel has been drifting since June 29, 2011. The statement informed that “Coast Guard ship Amrit Kaur and helicopter ex 842 Sqn (CG) were deployed for preliminary assessment. The vessel was assessed to have been grounded at Juhu beach without any apparent damage. The vessel is double bottom and is having 10 mt Fuel oil and 10 mt Gas oil. (30 metric ton according to DG Shipping). Owner of vessel intimated vessel was reported sunk immediately on abandoning on 30 Jun / 01 Jul 11. The company is in the process of engaging salvor for removal of vessel from beach.” The question is: when did it leave Sikka port and when it left the port was it with the crew or without crew? Who issued the port clearance at Sikka port. How it came to Sikka and how it left the port? The statement of the owner has been found to be untruthful by the officials too.The traceability of owner is a question, ToxicsWatch Alliance raised but no action has been taken.

In a statement dated 31st July, 2011, Directorate General Shipping stated, “Today afternoon, this Directorate was informed that this vessel was seen drifting off the 7 bunglows beach area. Immediately, the coast guard and Navy were alerted and more information being gathered. The vessel's name is MT Pavit (IMO No. 9016636), 999 tons GT, Flag Panama type product tanker, classed with RINA and built 1990 ran aground off Versova Beach in position 19 07.11N / 072 45.9E. The Owners of the vessel are reported to be M/s Pavit Shipping Lines, Dubai, and Managers are Ms Prime Tankers LLC, Dubai. MT PAVIT was reportedly abandoned off Oman Coast on the 29th of June. 13 crew members, all Indians were on board who were rescued by a ship of Great Eastern shipping and a US naval warship on 29th June 2011 and brought to Kandla port. The vessel is reported to be without cargo. However, she is reported to have a total of about 30 MT of fuel/diesel/Lube oil. ETV Smit Lumba has already moved towards the MT Pavit to render emergency towing operations. This Directorate would carry out the statuatory inquiry to this incident.” The question is: When the ship was abandoned “off Oman Coast on the 29th of June” then how did it come to Sikka? Whether the ownership of the ship was verified at the port. What was the purpose of the ship to come to Kandla, which is not a port for oil cargo. Before leaving Kandla, what cargo did it discharge and what cargo was loaded on it for the voyage. When it left Kandla did, the vessel get port clearance? When did the vessel become unmanned?.

So far Indian Ministry of Defence or Directorate General Shipping has not disclosed that UK’s Ministry of Defence rescued MT Pavit vessel as per its report dated 1st July, 2011. The question that remains undisclosed is: who is the owner of the real owner of this abandoned ship. (Statement from UK’s Ministry of Defence is attached). How did it reach Indian waters after its rescue by one of the ships of UK’s Royal Navy ship named HMS St Albans? This merits high level probe.

A statement from DG Shipping dated 2nd August, 2011 says, “A review meeting by the Directorate General of Shipping in the capacity Maritime Assistance Service (MAS) was held with the key Coastal State Authorities namely Indian Coast Guard, Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), the charterers, the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), including the managers representative (Prime Tankers, Dubai), Local Correspondent of P & I Club and salvage companies showing expression of interest” wherein “The owners and manager i.e Prime Tankers has sent their representative to participate in the review meeting today. The Directorate has directed the owner / manager Prime Tankers to confirm their action plan to remove /salvage the grounded vessel immediately. The owners / managers were advised to seek the salvage services either from managers of the ETV or make their own arrangements at their cost, risk, and consequences. In the event of no response from the owner / manager, the Directorate General of Shipping can invoke Section 356 K of the Merchant Shipping Act 1958 and take up salvage operations with cost being recovered from the owner / manager. The local P & I club correspondent stated that the vessel is not having valid P & I cover against third party liabilities.”

It further states, “The District Administration has also been requested to issue notice to the owner, manager and underwriters etc. under Section 133 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973 as this vessel is become public nuisance. The investigation by the Police Authorities under Section 336 of the Indian Penal Code is in progress. The Flag Administration of the ship Panama and the Coastal Authority of Oman are being notified that the vessel has not sunk as reported earlier and therefore, they would be requested to conduct investigation under the relevant International Law and share vital information and findings in respect of safety of navigation and other related issues with the Indian Administration. The Indian Maritime Administration, District Authority including MMB and Indian Coast Guard are concerned about the safety of the ship and any damage to the Marine environment. In view of this, continuous monitoring is in progress and efforts are on for earliest removal of the ship.” TWA demands that the ship must be sent back to the country of its origin at the cost of the owner to set an example for such culprits in future.

It has been reported that it is inexplicable as to how the Navy, responsible for security beyond 12 nautical miles; the Coast Guard, which patrols the zone between 5 and 12 nautical miles; and the newly created maritime police failed to detect the entry of this foreign vessel in Indian waters and it entered undetected by the three-tier security ring. Now it appears clear that the vessel was brought to Indian waters in close collaboration between the UK Ministry of US Defence Administration.

In a similar fashion, Singapore-flagged M V Wisdom had got stuck on Juhu beach in June, 2011. Ships are routinely abandoned by unscrupulous ship owners when they have reached end-of-life or have become sea worthy or when they are dubious in order to hide the identity of the ship owning companies and to save them from its potential liability.

It is germane to pay attention to the minutes of a meeting of Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC), “Security concerns” about obsolete foreign ships entering Indian waters were expressed. The minutes dated on 8th July, 2011reads: “The representative of Coast Guard brought to the notice of IMC that various foreign made communication equipment like emergency beacons brought on board of the ships and taken to breaking yards are not properly deactivated before dismantling the ships. The Coast Guard expressed concern from security angle as there were a few incidents of false alarms emanating from such equipments. The Chairman, IMC directed the Customs representative and SRIA to take note of the concerns of the Coast Guard and ensure that all such equipments are properly deactivated.” Earlier, a 2004 report of the Directorate of Naval Intelligence filed in the Supreme Court recorded that "some ships arriving at the breaking yards...may be involved in nefarious activities". The report had warned, "Apparently, a large number of cash buyers are Pakistani nationals based in London and the UAE. Due to large profit margins, the Dawood group appears to have invested heavily in cash buyers thus having a stake in most deals". It noted that this "can lead to clandestine collection of data, survey of seabed and coastal area, weather and meteorological data and for dropping and picking agents". The report had recommended that Ministry of Defence must give clearance to all such ships but this has not been complied with.

Among others G.K. Panda of Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB), Mumbai, Cmdr Palvinder Singh, Joint Director (Security), Ministry of Defence (Navy), Cmdt H. Nautiyal, JD (FE), Indian Coast Guards Headquarters, New Delhi and S.S. Gadkar of DG Shipping, Mumbai were present at the meeting.

The minutes read: “Regarding the concerns raised on false flag certification, the DG, Shipping representative suggested to all concerned to check up the database available with the website, ‘equasis.org.’ and to approach the DG, Shipping if details are not available therein, for exceptional reporting cases. It was also clarified by GMB that the requisite information would also be sent to MOD.”

It is noteworthy that “Equasis only shows ships in service.” The fact that M V Pavit is not revealed on this website too shows that the vessel was decommissioned, was end-of-life or abandoned to escape liability environmental liability. Essentially, such vessels are hazardous wastes which are transferred by industrialized and ship owning countries and their companies to developing countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in blatant violation of Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal with impunity. It is also applicable to to hazardous wastes and other wastes generated on board ships . US is not a party to this Convention and EU and UK are undermining this hard earned UN law by supporting IMO’s Hongkong Convention on ship recycling/dismantling which is unlikely to come into force. EU and UK by downplaying their own legislations in order to facilitate transfer of hazardous wastes laden end-of-life vessels and are indulging in linguistic corruption in the Free Trade Agreements under negotiation to this end.

“Any transboundary movement (TBM) that takes place without the pertinent notifications to all the States concerned or the consent pursuant to the Convention, or when such consent is obtained through falsification, misrepresentation or fraud, it is considered illegal traffic under the Basel Convention . Illegal traffic also occurs when the transboundary movement does not conform in a material way with the documents or when it results in the dumping of hazardous wastes or other wastes in violation of the Convention and of general principles of international law. The fact that Parties (to the Convnetion) consider that illegal traffic is a crime says a lot about how serious the international community is to ensure that the TBM and ESM (environmentally sound management) requirements of the Convention are respected.”

The 13th meeting of the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC) on ship breaking was held under Chairmanship of Shri S. Machendranathan, Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Steel & Chairman, IMC on Ship Breaking at Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) demands that no ship whether for dismantling or for shipping or in disguise of accidental snapping of towing cable of vessels be allowed in Indian waters without the name of Port of Registry, Name and address of ship owner, IMO registered owner identification number and IMO company identification Number unless this is done no seller will be traceable. (Refer to Appendix 4 of Hongkong Convention, page no. 39). Even in the aftermath the abandonment of Sinagpore -flagged MV Wisdom on Juhu beach. As an applicant in the Supreme Court in a related matter of hazardous wastes/shipbreaking, TWA has repeatedly written to the IMC and other concerned agencies regarding the same.

TWA demands that all the details regarding the probe in the matter of MV Wisdom be put on website and the information regarding inquiry with deadlines in the matter M V Pavit be put on website for transparency because it is apprehended that there are some senior government officials who have mastered the art of collusion with transnational ship owning companies to allow obsolete vessels in the Indian waters. TWA had disclosed an Office Memorandum No.29-3/2009-HSMD, Government of India, Ministry of Environment & Forests, (HSM Division) dated 9th May, 2011 relating to implementation of Supreme Court directions in respect of ship breaking activities, wherein it has been admitted that the issue regarding the submission of fake certificates by the ship owners/agents remains unresolved.

It has come to light from the Office Memorandum dated May 2011 that Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF)’s Standing Monitoring Committee (SMC) on Shipbreaking has suggested that since Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and Customs were not able to verify the authenticity/genuineness of ship’s registry/flag in the fast in respect of some ships referred to them, this task in respect of each ship may be referred to the Directorate General Shipping, Ministry of Shipping ought to undertake such verification henceforth. The GMB officials informed MoEF that “the suggestion of the committee is acceptable to them subject to such verification by DG Shipping is done within a period of 2 working days. If no information is received from the DG Shipping within 2 working days, it will be presumed that the certificate submitted is authentic and genuine.” The recent incidents have shown that it is applicable to ships entering Mumbai coast zone as well.

TWA disapproves of such presumption of genuineness of fabricated documents. It demands that documents of more than 100 ships that have entered or have been sunk must be investigated and their ownership be traced.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb: 9818089660,

E-mail: krishna2777@gmail.com, Web: imowatch.blogspot.com