Another ship with hazardous material illegally anchors in Alang: NGO

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New Delhi, Nov 5 (UNI) The Indian Platform on Ship-breaking today said that another ship, containing hazardous substances, had anchored in Alang since October 27 in violation of the Supreme Court's order of September 6.

According to the NGO, the UN Secretariat had written a letter to the Ministry of Environment and Forests about the anchoring of the ship called Aqaba Express.

UN official Katharina Kummer Piery's letter to R K Vaish, Joint Secretary, Hazardous Substances Management Division has reference to the impounding of the ship in Spain and the fact that the ship was carrying hazardous substances like asbestos, PCB and radioactive material.

The letter, according to the NGO, suggests that the vessel left Spanish territorial waters by informing the Spanish authorities it was going to Romania for refurbishment and instead it came to Alang.

As per Basel Convention, such misrepresentation is part of illegal traffic. The ship has not complied with the Court's orders of September 6, 2007 order and October 14, 2003 that endorsed the Basel Convention and deemed it as part of right to life.

Ship breaking activity must operate under the clear mandate for the decontamination (pre-cleaning) of ships of their hazardous substances including asbestos, radioactive material, waste oils, gases and both solid and liquid PCB contaminated material and any other substances covered by the Basel Convention prior to imports for breaking.

As per the existing rules, if the ship breaking facility is not deemed by the country of import, or the country of export as possessing the capability for "Environmentally Sound Management" then import/export must be prohibited.

Exporting country can be the country where a ship owner is located, a port state, or the flag state.

Parties to the Convention such as India are duty bound to prohibit trade in hazardous wastes between themselves and non-Parties without a special bi/multilateral agreement.

A Basel Party wishing to export a ship containing hazardous materials for scrapping must first notify and then receive consent from recipient country prior to export.

Such a notification will require full sampling and testing of various onboard materials.

The ship should be properly decontaminated by the ship owner prior to export for its breaking.

But all these conditions have not been complied with, said the Indian Platform on Ship-breaking, adding that it has written to Basel Secretariat, Environment Ministry and Spanish and Romanian authorities seeking their response with regard to the illegal traffic.

UNI

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