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A beauty long gone, but not forgotten...SS Norway (France)


I seriously think that Star Cruises should be prosecuted for what they did...regardless as to whether Norway can be saved or not. They broke every rule in the book, they lied and falsified documentation left right and center...

After so long up on the sandbank I can't see her being refloated....as much as I feel angry at the prospect of her being broken up, I fear that she will have no alternative but to be broken up. If the courts say she can't due to asbestos, then that ship will have to be left where she is and let nature take its course as they are implying she can't get taken off the embankment...

All very sad...and so unneccessary :no:


The latest "final" hearing to decide the fate of BLUE LADY (ex FRANCE, NORWAY) at Alang has been postponed by the Indian Supreme Court from April 30 to mid-May.


They really are struggling to come to a decision on this....and all the time they are taking will be having a detrimental effect on the ship....dragging out her possible execution :(


A new photo has appeared on the web of the still beautiful, albeit looking lacklustre, Norway...25th April 2007....



May 16: The Indian Supreme Court has granted Priya Blue, the Alang-based shipbreaking company that purchased the BLUE LADY (ex FRANCE, NORWAY) permission to remove the remaining oil from the ship's tanks. No firm word on demolition has been granted, however. That decision may arrive within the next ten days.



Health check-ups of workers dismantling Norwegian cruise liner "Blue Lady", carrying hazardous asbestos, is being carried out in Alang, a shipbreaking yard in Gujarat.

During a four-day medical camp, experts of the National Institute of Occupational Health will also impart training to the workers in cautious handling of toxic material and use of protective masks.

"Earlier, there were no such things but since the anchoring of Blue Lady there are some health scares. That's why we are getting a medical check-up," said Dharmendra Yadav, a worker.

The medical authorities conducted a general check-up of all the employees working at the shipbreaking yard.

"The atmosphere is considered hazardous for the workers. So a government sponsored team has come here to do a medical check up of the workers," said G.B. Makwana, a doctor with Alang medical hospital.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had allowed the ship to enter Indian waters, but put a hold on it's dismantling, pending a report by an expert panel on the quantum of toxic wastes on board.

Beaching was permitted after Indian experts had given the go ahead for the scrapping of the controversial cruise liner, which environmentalists say contains toxic material harmful to ship-breakers.

The team of 15-members, of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) and Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) gave clearance after the committee carried out a five-day inspection of the ship.

Greenpeace and other groups had raised concern and protested over the Blue Lady. According to them, 46,000-tonne cruise liner, which anchored in June off the Alang ship-breaking yard, contains more than 900 tonnes of asbestos which would put the health of workers at risk.

A recent Greenpeace report said that thousands of ship breakers in countries such as India, China and Pakistan had probably died in the past two decades from accidents or exposure to toxic waste.

In February last year, France recalled its decommissioned aircraft carrier Clemenceau after an outcry over the asbestos it contained.

But the Gujarat Maritime Board, which leases out the yards in Alang, says they can handle toxic and hazardous waste.



The saga continues....

July 27: It looks as though a decision on the BLUE LADY's fate is to be delayed at least another ten days as the Indian Supreme Court reviews new material claiming that the 5,500 fire alarms on board the historic liner contain Americum 241, a radioactive material that is known to cause cancer. The former SS NORWAY/FRANCE was beached on August 15, 2006 and has been laying in the elements some 4,000 feet from the plot owned by Priya Blue Shipbreakers, the outfit that purchased the ship last year. The Supreme Court's Technical Committee of Experts (CTE) has also been reviewing evidence provided by the breakers (and supported by the Gujarat Maritime Board) on the feasibility of safe removal of 1,200 tons of asbestos on board the ship.


I just ran across this website...my apologies if it's been posted before...I'll admit I didn't read all the posts in this thread. Very nice review of the final sailing of SS Norway.

perhaps it was farewell after all - NORWAY

Also found this youtube vidoe and lots of others the the right of it.

YouTube - SS Norway Documentary Trailer
Mary, the photos of Norway are stunning on that review...and very very sad as it was her last ever journey to Southampton (I watched her arrive and leave from a car ferry)...and very poignant reminder that not only was it Norway's last voyage but also the last time she saw the twin towers too.

Lovely review and very sad.



Cruise vessel Norway, ex France and now Blue Lady, might be ready for scrapping. The Indian government has told the Supreme Court that all requirements regarding hazadous material has been met, writes Tradewinds.

Environmental pressure groups engaged in the case has however not given up. The Supreme Court has been petitioned to declare the vessel radioactive. The petition refers to the smoke detectors, which are claimed to contain the isotope Americum-241. It is said that 60 kilos of this is enough to make a dirty bomb. This is rejected by the authorities that claims that the amount of the isotope in a smoke detector is tiny. The American Nuclear Regulatory Commission the amount is so small that a smoke detector can be handled as ordinary garbage.


They have dragged this out for so long that even if the courts had denied permission, she is so badly weathered that she can't possibly be saved. Dreadful news and a criminal waste of a beautiful lady :(


A former ocean liner can be broken up in India despite concerns it contains toxic waste, the Supreme Court says.

The judgement came after experts were asked to decide if it was safe to scrap the Blue Lady at the giant breaking yard at Alang in western Gujarat state.

Environmentalists say the Blue Lady, formerly the SS France and then the SS Norway, contains tonnes of toxic waste.

In June 2006, the court allowed the vessel to enter Indian waters but said it must stay anchored off the coast.

Bangladesh banned the vessel from its waters in February 2006.

'Not safe'

Tuesday's ruling follows a year of controversy over the fate of the ship.

The Supreme Court judges said their decision was based on the report submitted by the expert committee set up to decide whether it was safe to dismantle the liner.

"Since the court has accepted the technical expert committee report, we permit the Blue Lady to be dismantled," said Supreme Court judge SH Kapadia, Reuters news agency reports.

Details of the order were not immediately available.

The Indian Platform on Ship-Breaking, an alliance of groups including Greenpeace and the Ban Asbestos Network, had lobbied for the ship not to be broken up.

Environmental groups say the 11-storey, 315-metre-long, liner contains 1,200 tonnes of asbestos and other toxic materials.

"We are very disappointed," Madhumita Dutta of Ban Asbestos Network told the BBC.

"Last week, the Supreme Court said if a contaminated ship comes to India, it should be sent back. It's been proved beyond doubt that Blue Lady contains all sorts of toxic material. How can the court allow it to be dismantled?" she asked.

The alliance says Indian yards lack the technology to deal with such waste and workers will be exposed to unacceptable risk.

Last year, a study commissioned by the government confirmed that one in six workers at the Alang ship yards showed signs of asbestos poisoning.

Hotel or museum

The Blue Lady, now owned by an Indian firm, was once the pride of the French shipping industry when it was the SS France.

Artist Salvador Dali and pop star David Bowie were among its celebrity passengers.

Ship-lovers and ecologists alike have battled to prevent the vessel from being scrapped.

There was a proposal to convert the liner into a floating hotel. Campaigners in the France Liner Association want to see it turned into a museum.

Alang, known as the graveyard of ships, has been the last port of call for countless ships from around the world. Thousands of workers take apart huge liners, past their prime, with their hands and very basic tools.

Last year, the French government bowed to pressure and recalled the decommissioned aircraft carrier Clemenceau while it was en route to Alang.

The Alang Ship Breaking Association has in the past denied charges of asbestos poisoning.

The Gujarat Maritime Board, which administers the yards, says the workers are provided with equipment and adequate training to ensure their safety.



hmmm...the fight isn't over quite yet...

Environmental groups slam India's top court for allowing dismantling of Norwegian ship.

NEW DELHI: A coalition of environmental groups said Thursday it will challenge a decision by India's top court allowing a Norwegian cruise liner to be dismantled, claiming the ship contained toxic materials.

The "Blue Lady" is anchored along the coast of Alang in the western state of Gujarat.

Last week, two judges in India's Supreme Court granted permission for the ship to be dismantled on the basis of a court-commissioned report by technical experts.

The experts said there were no radioactive materials and whatever asbestos is in the ship would be handled and disposed of properly, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

Environmental groups including Greenpeace have alleged that the ship contains radioactive materials and asbestos that could endanger the lives of nearly 700 workers who would dismantle it and nearly 30,000 villagers living in the area.

On Thursday, Gopal Krishna, a spokesman for a coalition of environmental groups, the Indian Platform on Ship-breaking, told reporters it would file a petition seeking a review of the order from a larger group of Supreme Court judges.

The Indian Platform on Ship-breaking includes Greenpeace, the Ban Asbestos Network of India, the Corporate Accountability Desk and the Basel Action Network.

The dismantling process would take more than a year.

Environmental and labor groups have for years urged Indian authorities to sharply curtail — or simply stop — the work being done at the Alang shipbreaking yard, where old ships are run aground in the shallows just offshore and then dismantled largely by hand.

Old ships are not broken up in the West because of high labor costs and because they contain hazardous materials, including asbestos, that would not pass health standards.

That has made Asia — where regulations are often lax or nonexistent — a cheap alternative.

Ship breaking in India and Bangladesh is done largely by uneducated migrants who are given little safety training or equipment, environmentalists say.

(International Herald Tribune)


This saga has dragged on for so long now. Everyone knows that NCL/Star broke every environmental rules in the book...mother nature will not have been kind to the old lady as she waits to find out her fate...to use a slightly altered saying...

"It ain't over til the Blue Lady, sings (as she breaks apart)"


Reports from various news sources have confirmed that Norway is now in the process of being lightened ready for cutting up. Her disposable interior sections, lifeboats and anything not physically attached to her will be removed over the coming weeks. This has now started and once lightened she will be dragged further up the beach and cutting will commence.

Damn shame :(


This saga is continuing....

NEW DELHI - 25th October 2007 - India’s Supreme Court will next month decide the fate of a French-made cruise liner waiting to be dismantled that activists say is lined with toxins, environmental campaigners said on Thursday.

The court had last month given permission to the owners of the Blue Lady to break up the vessel for scrap off India’s west coast based on a report by an expert panel it had appointed.

But activists said that decision contradicted a ruling given a few days earlier by the top court, which said all ships must be decontaminated before being taken apart.

“We are puzzled by the court’s (later) order,” said Gopal Krishna, spokesman for the Indian Platform on Shipbreaking, an umbrella group that includes Greenpeace and the Ban Asbestos Network.

The group has asked for a review of the ruling.

“The court will now hear the matter in four weeks,” he said.

Originally launched in 1960 as the SS France, the ship has been known as the SS Norway and finally the Blue Lady.

Environmentalists say the vessel contains some 1,200 tonnes of cancer-causing materials such as asbestos, and radioactive elements, which endanger the health of shipbreakers who work with little protection.

The ship was turned away by Bangladesh in February 2006 because its contents were deemed too toxic for it to be dismantled there, but the boat was allowed into Indian waters several months later.

The current owner of the ship, a private Indian company called Priya Blue Industries, wants to dismantle the Blue Lady off India’s western Alang coast, but company staff said the work has been delayed.

A shipbreaking industry body agreed there was confusion over the conflicting court rulings.

“The court also wants us to declare the quantity of toxins, but no one has the expertise to do it,” said Praveen Nagarseth, President of Shipbreakers Association.

Most seagoing ships end their lives at shipyards in India, Bangladesh, China or Pakistan.

For major industrialised nations, safety and environmental laws make shipbreaking work hugely costly. Countries like India, however, offer the lax enforcement of such rules plus a vast supply of cheap labour.

Last year, France recalled the decommissioned warship Clemenceau after a battle by environmentalists who said it contained between 500 to 1,000 tonnes of asbestos. France said the ship only contained 45 tonnes of the material.

(Khaleej Times Online)


Norway - sold for breaking for just $10 according to bill of sale

The Blue Lady case is a litmus test of the Indian government’s stand on hazardous wastes.

Controversy is not new to Blue Lady. The 76,049-tonne luxury liner, formerly known as SS Norway and before that SS France, was once the largest passenger ship in the world and has a colourful history.

The ship’s first encounter with controversy was in 1974 when trade unionists commandeered it in an attempt to prevent its sale and also to secure wage increases for the crew. The bid failed and the ship was sold. The following years saw more controversies as the ship aged and its owners thought of ways to make it more profitable.

In 2003, a boiler explosion on the now renamed SS Norway killed seven of its crew and injured 17 in the port of Miami. That was the final straw. The ship was withdrawn and towed first to Germany and then to an anchorage off Port Klang in Malaysia. This was the beginning of the controversy that continues to dog the ship even as it lies beached at Alang in Gujarat.

When a ship leaves a port of origin it is mandatory for the master to present the onward plan. The plan given by SS Norway was that it was being taken to Malaysia to be made into a floating hotel. This, Gopal Krishna of the non-governmental organisation (NGO) Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) says, was “clearly fraudulent [considering the severity of the boiler explosion on the 44-year-old vessel]”. But the German port authorities did not challenge it. By now, the ship had changed ownership from Norwegian Cruise Lines to Haryana Ship Demolition Pvt. Ltd. This in itself is an indication that the floating hotel plan was merely a charade. But this was probably not known at the time since it was a proxy buyer who bought the ship.

The ship left German waters in May 2005 and docked in Malaysia. Then it left for Dubai, citing a need for repairs, but actually moved towards Bangladesh where it was refused entry. It was then steered towards India in May 2006, but a timely application in the Supreme Court by Gopal Krishna prevented it from entering Indian waters. With the impending monsoon, the ship’s owners (Haryana Ship Demolition Pvt. Ltd.) pleaded humanitarian grounds and the Court permitted anchorage at Pipavav port near Alang. After getting this permission, the ship sailed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and returned after 25 days. What it did in that period remains a mystery. On its return it was beached at Alang.

The Supreme Court had given it permission only to anchor off Pipavav for the monsoon and not for beaching. The contention that a beached ship cannot be refloated has been contested in a letter sent by the U.S.-based Crowley Maritime Corporation to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, offering to refloat the vessel.

The master of Blue Lady had given a false declaration saying that there were no hazardous materials when there were 1,100 locations on the ship that held radioactive matter. Blue Lady had close to 1,700 tonnes of hazardous material – two and a half times more than that in the aircraft carrier Clemenceau, which France recalled in February 2006 from Alang, says Gopal Krishna. Besides, the ship did not carry papers saying it had been decontaminated. This should have sufficed to send the ship back since India is a signatory to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal.


Proxy buying is a common business in shipping. It is a convenient loophole that permits both seller and buyer to evade laws that would result in huge expenses. In the case of Blue Lady, were it to be dismantled, the owners would have had to decontaminate the ship in Germany itself under the Basel Convention. However, decontamination in Europe of a ship the size of Blue Lady would have cost nearly 30 million euros, according to reliable estimates.

In August 2006, Norwegian Cruise Lines sold the ship to Bridgend Shipping of Monrovia for scrapping. The ship was renamed Blue Lady. The bill of sale says the vessel was sold for $10! The ship was to go to Bangladesh for scrapping but the government in Dhaka refused entry because of the vast amount of asbestos on board. It was then sold to Haryana Ship Demolition Pvt. Ltd., which claimed to be the bona fide owner but could not show documents of proof. In July 2006, the ship was sold to its current owner, Priya Blue Industries Pvt. Ltd. in Alang, which, too, has been unable to produce the papers of ownership.

Clemenceau’s sale was also supposed to have been via the proxy buyer system but in this case it failed. A particular clause in the proxy system says that ownership will be transferred after dismantling. The benefit of this clause extends to both the buyer and the seller. If the buyer manages to break the ship, well and good; if he does not, then it returns to the port of origin. The basic idea is to avoid the heavy cost of decontaminating a ship in a Western port of origin. An owner who has to do this attaches the cost he has borne to the sale price when he sells a ship to a ship-breaker. Thus it is suitable to both the seller and the buyer to try and evade decontamination in Western countries.

The proxy buyer comes in at this point. Simply put, the proxy buyer permits a shipowner to dump a vessel without the onus of decontamination costs. This is how it worked for Blue Lady. Norwegian Cruise Lines sold SS Norway to Bridgend for a ridiculous amount, but there is no way to find fault with Norwegian Cruise Lines since it can sell its ship for whatever price it chooses. Of course, it does not take much imagination to figure out that the real price is paid off the record, which explains why proxy buyers are also known as cash buyers.

Once the deal is made, the proxy buyer usually changes the ship’s name so that the original owner can further distance himself from the affair. In this case, SS Norway became Blue Lady. The next step towards dismantling was easier – Bridgend sold the ship to Haryana Ship Demolition, which in turn sold it to Priya Blue. Thus, the role of the proxy buyer is primarily to enable shipowners to keep their reputation and also avoid the cost of decontamination.

Now that Blue Lady is beached and the Supreme Court has permitted its dismantling, a 12-point guideline for worker safety has to be adhered to. This includes procedures for decontamination and correct disposal of toxic waste. Dismantling has not yet started because the ship-breaker has not been able to comply with all the requirements.

It is estimated that Blue Lady has close to 1,700 tonnes of waste such as asbestos, asbestos containing material (ACM) and radioactive material, namely Americium-241. Even its owner Priya Blue confirms this. According to the United States Environment Protection Agency, Americium-241 can stay in the human body for decades if ingested or inhaled or if there is direct external exposure to its alpha particles and gamma rays. Exposure to Americium-241 poses a cancer risk.

It is now acknowledged that dismantling of ships has effects that go far beyond causing harm to those who are in immediate contact with the materials. Air, surface water, groundwater and soil have been contaminated over the decades. Local villagers have decided that enough is enough. Bhagvatsinh Haluba Gohil, sarpanch of Sosiya village in Bhavnagar district, and the sarpanches of 12 other villages, have filed an application in the Supreme Court to halt the dismantling of Blue Lady, on behalf of 30,000 villagers who live within 25 km of Alang.

They argue that “the dismantling of the ship would have hazardous effect on the residents of the villages near the Alang ship-breaking yard as the ship contains large amounts of asbestos”. They have submitted that Rule 12 (i) of the Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Rules under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, bans the import of asbestos. The court is yet to deal with the application.

“We don’t want to stop ship-breaking because that would mean loss of jobs for hundreds of people. All we are asking is that it be done in a responsible manner and our lives and earnings are not affected,” says Gohil.

He adds that the open dumping of waste into the sea has affected the fishing community too. “Fishermen are forced to go out into the sea beyond five or six kilometres because of the waste oil that spreads over the water and ruins their fishing,” Gohil says.

Speaking to Frontline, Gohil explained what prompted the villagers to take the legal step. “For the past 15 to 20 years we have been noticing a diminishing of our crop. It has not been easy to pinpoint this but we have now come to the conclusion that it is related to air, water and soil contamination brought on by the work at Alang.”

The livelihood of the villages comes primarily from horticulture, and Gohil says that the trees are now far more susceptible to insect attacks than before. He says farmers’ expenses in the purchase of pesticides have gone up considerably.

Years of ship-breaking in Alang has meant that the toxic materials have slowly leached into the ground. Gopal Krishna says the report of the Technical Experts Committee on Hazardous Wastes relating to Ship-breaking confirm that the groundwater in Alang is heavily polluted. This admission by an official report is part of the irony of the fight against hazardous waste. On the one hand the government accepts that material like asbestos are hazardous to health and the environment but, on the other hand, the policies of the government do not reflect this concern.

Vidyut Joshi, the former Vice-Chancellor of Bhavnagar University, has made a study of ship-breaking in Alang. His conclusion is that it should not be the business of the Gujarat Maritime Board to supervise industry operations at Alang. This should be given to the Industries Department, which is better equipped in terms of skills to handle labour issues, detection of hazardous materials, and so on. The present system has the Maritime Board subcontracting everything to consultants.

The Blue Lady case will be a sort of litmus test not only for the Indian government’s stand on hazardous waste but also for Europe. At present the position of both is suspect.

Earlier, Clemenceau was allowed into Indian waters though it had flouted Indian laws. France recalled the ship only because of intense public and legal pressures in that country. Last year, the Riky, another asbestos-laden vessel, left Danish waters under misrepresentation and was dismantled in Alang. The Danish government is pursuing the matter and has initiated criminal proceedings against its owner.

This is in direct contrast to the reaction of the German government, which has refused to take any responsibility for Blue Lady. The ship left German waters under conditions that could have been (but were not) challenged by the German government, and now Germany is refusing to accept any responsibility for the ship, saying it is not a state-owned vessel as Clemenceau was. This is irrelevant since the Basel Convention dictates terms on the basis of the hazardous nature of the waste and not on the basis of ownership.

(The Hindu)