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:,


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:


  1. Informative post! India has become the prime spot for ship recycling. Alang in Gujarat is the world’s biggest ship breaking yard with hundreds of ships getting scrapped each year.

  2. Very informative content! Thank you for the beautiful article! I would like to suggest Best oasis as one of the leading ship demolition cash buyers in India. Keep up the great work.