2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 12 Sep 2003 16:28:26 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Out of sight
Out of sight
Originally published September 12, 2003

TWO MOTHBALLED American ships moored in Virginia's James River are about
to begin a trans-Atlantic voyage to a scrapper's yard in northeastern
England as a sort of test run for what is a shockingly irresponsible
idea - the renewed dumping of toxic U.S. government ships overseas.

The Maritime Administration owns these old vessels, and about 100
others, and wants to get rid of them - they're leaky rustbuckets that
pose a considerable environmental and safety risk to the waterways that
now hold them. But they're shot through with harmful chemicals (notably
polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs) and they have no business leaving
these shores.

At one time, the Maritime Administration was content to sell off
unwanted ships to breakers' yards in China, India and Pakistan, with no
thought given to the damage inflicted on the workers and coastlines of
those countries. That came to a stop five years ago, when the Clinton
administration imposed a moratorium on overseas sales. Since then,
American yards - which had serious shortcomings of their own - have
greatly improved their practices and are qualified to do the careful
work required.

Yet MARAD, as the agency is known, is inexplicably determined to send
its poisonous fleet abroad. First, it won congressional approval to
circumvent the moratorium. This summer, the Environmental Protection
Agency waived enforcement of a law that prohibits the export of toxic
substances for disposal. Now MARAD awaits only Coast Guard certification
that the ships are seaworthy enough to be towed across the ocean;
departure could come next week.

This article can be viewed at:

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