2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 3 Nov 2003 17:04:55 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Talks go forward on ships
Talks go forward on ships
By John Zarocostas
November 1, 2003

GENEVA  International efforts to ensure hazardous waste found on old
ships  such as asbestos  are safely disposed advanced here this week
after officials from more than 100 countries agreed to talks to craft
legal guidelines for dismantling ships that conform with global
environmental rules.

The decision to press ahead was reached following the controversial U.S.
export in mid-October of four obsolete U.S. Navy ships to the United
Kingdom for breakup and the reputedly illegal effort to export the
former French aircraft carrier Clemenceau to Turkey.

Protests by environmental groups against the export of the ships for
demolition have triggered a political backlash in the European Union and

British authorities withdrew permission yesterday for a fleet of old,
rusty U.S. Navy vessels to be dismantled in England, citing outstanding
environmental concerns. Four ships left Virginia this month and are
expected to reach England by mid-November. More may follow next year.

Environmentalists campaigned against the arrival of the 13 "Ghost Fleet"
ships, which contain toxins including asbestos, PCBs and more than
500,000 gallons of oil.

Britain's Environment Agency had approved the contract to Able U.K. Ltd.
shipyard in Hartlepool, northeastern England, on condition the ships be
dismantled in dry dock. It withdrew the approval because the company did
not have permission to build a dry dock and lacked appropriate
waste-management licenses.

Able said it was confident it could resolve the problem by the time the
first four ships reach Britain.

Once "all the environmental and planning requirements are met, there is
no reason why dismantling and recovery of ships should not take place at
the Able site," said Craig McGarvey, a manager at Environment Agency.

The international guidelines would apply to both commercial vessels and
warships and could restrict the export of thousands of obsolete vessels
to developing countries such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and China,
for breakups that fail to meet strict environmental norms.

Diplomats said the goal of the talks is to reach an agreement by April
next year, and to put the guidelines forward for adoption by state
parties to the 1989 Basel Convention on transboundary movement of
hazardous wastes by October 2004.

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