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'SC nod for ship entry disappointing on World Environment Day'

Written by: Staff

New Delhi, Jun 5 (UNI) International Environment NGO Greepeace today expressed concern over the Supreme Court allowing SS Blue Lady, a ship containing 1200 tons of toxic asbestos, to enter Indian waters.

The news comes as a great disappointment on the World Environment Day, it said.

The Indian Court has gone against its own 1997 order and subsequent order of October 14, 2003 prohibiting import of hazardous wastes by permitting, Greenpeace said.

It claimed that the ship did not have the mandatory Form 7 documents from country of export required for hazardous waste shipments the ship does not have a complete inventory of toxic wastes, but the ship-breaker admits that the ship contains both asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls, a neurotoxin, the NGO said.

The ship has been allowed to anchor in the India territorial waters on the basis of an interim report submitted by a Technical Committee chaired by the Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests.

''Ironically, the technical committee consists of members from government agencies with known bias towards the ship-breaking industry and ex-naval officers, and It has no representations from the public interest groups. '' it said.

According to the NGO, the ship under tow left Malaysia on May 5 last, after having fraudulently declared to port authorities there that it was destined for repairs in Dubai.

The ship has made several attempts to reach scrap yards, including an aborted attempt late last year when the Bangladesh Government prohibited the toxic ship from entering the country on health and environmental grounds.

The Supreme Court today permitted Norwegian Ship 'Blue Lady,' containing 1240 metric tonnes of toxic asbestos, to enter Indian territorial waters with the directions that the ship be anchored at Alang port in Gujarat for inspection by the Indian authorities.

The decision came after the Government assured the court that all safety norms related to pollution of the environment will be adhered to and also pleaded that the inspection was not possible unless and until the ship was permitted to arrive in Gujarat.


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