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AHMEDABAD: Norwegian cruiseliner the 'Blue Lady' on Tuesday beached for dismantling at the Alang shipbreaking yard in Bhavnagar after recently getting the go-ahead from the Supreme Court.
The beaching was permitted after the cruiseliner, also known as the SS Norway, underwent a thorough inspection by a team of experts appointed by the apex court last week after environmentalists said that it contained tonnes of harmful asbestos.
Confirming that the cruiseliner had beached at Alang, the port officer Anil Rathore said, "The Blue Lady has beached today in plot No V1 after completing all formalities required. It should be ready for dismantling in a month's time."
Blue lady, that stands 315 meters tall and is almost 11 storeyed, got a green signal to beach on July 15 after the Supreme Court-appointed committee inspected it for five days and submitted a report to it.
The team comprised 15 members of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB), National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) and Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB).
On entering Indian seas on July 10 it was docked at Pipavav port in Kutch district till clearance from the experts committee.
The cruiseliner made its way into Alang after it was turned away from the Bangladesh Shipbreaking yard following protest by environmentalists who complained that it contained toxic asbestos that could harm the numerous workers involved in ship breaking.
(Times of India)
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Supreme Court said on Thursday the controversial Norwegian cruise liner, Blue Lady, should not be dismantled without its permission.
Blue Lady has beached at India's ship-breaking yard at Alang in Gujarat. Environmentalists, led by Greenpeace, say the 46,000-tonne ship contains more than 900 tonnes of toxic waste like asbestos, risking the health of poorly equipped ship-breakers at Alang.
"Breaking cannot take place without our orders," the court said, when it was told the ship had beached at Alang.
The petitioner representing the environmentalists sought orders restraining authorities from breaking up the ship. The court declined this but said: "If it's done without our orders, we shall deal with it."
In June the court allowed Blue Lady to enter Indian waters but appointed an expert committee to look into how much toxic waste was on board, before it could be broken.
The committee has to formally submit its findings to the court but senior Alang port officials said earlier this month the panel had cleared Blue Lady and it was ready to be scrapped, raising concern among environmentalists.
In February, the French government recalled the former aircraft carrier Clemenceau, which had been heading for Alang, after a lengthy campaign by Greenpeace, which said the ship carried toxic waste.
A Greenpeace report published last year said thousands of workers in the ship-breaking industry in countries such as India, China and Pakistan had probably died over the past two decades in accidents or due to exposure to toxic waste.
(MiamiHerald)In a small victory for environmental activists, India's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the owners of the SS Norway must await its approval before dismantling the ship.
Environmental activists say the Norway contains more than 1,000 tons of asbestos and other hazardous materials and are calling on the Indian Supreme Court to turn the ship away. They say the ship should be decontaminated before hundreds of Indian workers begin breaking it apart.
The Norway, originally named the France, and of late called the Blue Lady, arrived Tuesday at the Indian port of Alang, the world's largest ship-breaking yard. A port official said he expected the ship to begin being dismantled within a month.
But the Indian Supreme Court said it won't allow the dismantling until it reviews a final report by experts charged with looking over the ship's contents.
The Norway's fate at the hands of ship breakers also is being watched by John Voet, a North Carolina business man who seeks to buy it and turn it into a floating tourist attraction. Voet called Thursday's decision ``a positive step forward.''
The Norway was turned away by Bangladesh in February on the grounds that it was too hazardous to be dismantled there.
The France set sail in 1962 as a showpiece for the French government. Miami-based Norwegian Cruise Line bought the ship in 1979 and renamed it the Norway. The ship sailed from Miami on week-long Caribbean voyages from 1980 to 2003, when a deadly boiler explosion forced it to be taken out of service.
Malaysia-based Star Cruises, Norwegian's parent company, transfered ownership of the Norway this year to Indian ship breakers.
Toxic ship Blue Lady not to be broken: Indian court
17 August 2006 (New Delhi): Blue Lady cannot be broken until further orders from the Supreme Court. The matter came up for mention today
before the court through I.A. 32 of 657/1995 seeking compliance of national and international law. The 315-metre long and 46,000-tonne Blue Lady (earlier called SS Norway, S S France) is owned by Malaysia's Star Cruises Limited.
The above Interim Application with regard to the beaching/dismantling of SS Norway/ Blue Lady came up for mentioning in the court today before a bench comprising Hon'ble Mr. Justice Arijit Pasayat and Hon'ble Mr. Justice SH Kapadia.
The court observed that the only permission granted by it on 5th June 2006 was for anchoring at a safe place in the territorial waters of India off Alang. It made it clear that no permission whatsoever has been granted for breaking of the ship. The court further made it clear that any precipitate action to break the ship without the court's express permission will be dealt with severely.
In its June 2006 order, the court took note of anchorage, beaching and dismantling as separate measures and mentioned them distinctly. Permitting anchorage, the order said, "This shall, however, not confer any equity on the owners of the ship, which is sought to be put on anchorage, beaching and dismantling." This exposes the impropriety committed by the Technical Committee on Ship-breaking whose term expired on 31st July, 2006 but is still holding its meeting on 18th and 19th August, 2006 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
The saga of the Blue Lady seems to be yet another case of corporates profiting by endangering the lives and limbs of the poor workers of Alang. Star Cruises would rather poison workers in India than spend any money on asbestos and PCB abatement prior to export. They are aided and abetted by Indian environment ministry officials, who seem to have sold the health of their poorest constituents to the powerful scrap steel and ship owners lobby.
Earlier the company ensured the departure of the Blue Lady from the port of Bremerhaven, Germany on May 23, 2005 by misinforming the German authorities. This has triggered a continuing criminal offense that persists to this day. It has dragged Germany and India into becoming a participant in violating international laws. Newly discovered evidence confirm that as far back as 2004, the owners of the SS Norway, Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) and its mother company, Star Cruises Ltd (SCL), misled Germany by declaring that the vessel was going to Asia for re-use. It did the same in Malaysia.
Environmental, labour and human rights groups have strongly recommended that Norwegian Cruise Lines and Star Cruises Ltd must be held accountable by instituting criminal and civil actions against them for illegally exporting Blue Lady by misrepresentation to German authorities of their true intent of disposing of the vessel, and for any harm that will arise by their willful disposal of the toxic wastes they left on board the SS Norway.
Therefore, it is incumbent on Germany to take Blue Lady back at once (as was done in Europe in the case of Le Clemenceau) as its export is a clear violation of Article 16 of the European Union Waste Shipment Regulation, Article 6 of the Basel Convention, and the Basel Ban Amendment. Star Cruise's NCL has acted inappropriately in the past, when it purposely covered up an environmental crime it committed. Efforts are on in Germany to take Star Cruise to task for its act fraudulent misrepresentation to the German authorities.
It may be noted that a German inspection team had earlier confirmed the presence of airborne asbestos in several decks of the Blue Lady along with other toxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's), Cadmium, Azocolourants, Chromium compounds, Mercury compounds, Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE), Polybrominated Biphenyls (PBB's), Tributyls, Heavy Metals and other hazardous substances.
The applicant in the Blue Lady case prayed for direction that if the purchasers desire to bring it into India for the purpose of demolition, then it should first be de-contaminated in an OECD/EU country at a facility that is fully capable of managing all such wastes in the optimum manner described in the Basel Convention Guidelines and the previous orders of the court.
(OneWorld South Asia)
Certainly does make you think....and become more angry at the way this whole Norway issue has been (mis)handled. :nono:One would think that the world's third-largest vacation cruise company would know enough to avoid exploiting and endangering the lives of some of the world's most desperate, impoverished workers. Indeed, the Web site of Star Cruises Ltd and its subsidiary, Norwegian Cruise Lines - with operations around the globe relying heavily on cross-cultural tourism, exotic locations and pristine environments - brags of a "World-Class Brand" and cites numerous awards, some for safety.
However, the company, despite pleadings from environmental, human rights and public health activists around the world, has refused to act to prevent its former flag ship, the SS Norway, from being featured in one of the world's remaining occupational horror shows: the breaking of asbestos and PCB-laden ships on the beaches of South Asia.
Today, due in large part to a callous, singularly bottom-line-minded shipping industry, the statement "a ship a day, a death a day" still rings ugly and true for those in the South Asian ship-scrap beaches of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan trying to eke out a living by breaking monster ships with hand tools and without adequate protective equipment. Death can come suddenly, from the crush of a falling steel plate or by being blown to bits when cutting torches set off residual fuels. Or, it might be the slow-motion horror of cancer from asbestos and hazardous chemicals such as PCBs and heavy metals.
The Norway (formerly SS France) was the pride of Norwegian Cruise Lines' fleet after it refurbished the aging liner at the cost of $100 million in 1979. It enjoyed the nickname of "Grand Dame of the Caribbean." But on May 25, 2003, in Miami, the boiler exploded, killing eight crew members. After the accident, the vessel was towed to Germany, where NCL announced its intent to repair the ship. However, the cost of rebuilding the boiler became too expensive, and NCL looked at alternatives, announcing that the vessel would be taken out of its active fleet in 2004.
During this period, buyers inspected the vessel and found asbestos contamination in several decks of the vessel, as well as PCBs and other hazardous contamination. NCL knew any reputable buyer seeking further use of the vessel would demand that the costs of decontaminating the poisons be deducted from the sales price. And these costs would be expensive if done properly in a safe and sophisticated manner. In its 2005 annual report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, NCL reported the vessel's value as of the end of 2004 as scrap and did not report the asbestos liabilities - hoping, it would seem, to ignore the toxic nightmare and instead simply try and profit from the inflated global scrap steel market in Asia.
Even after this SEC report, however, it told German authorities the vessel would not be scrapped but rather repaired and turned into a floating hotel and casino.
On this premise, Germany released the Norway and allowed it to be towed to Asia. But now this move is seen as a cynical and deadly ploy to avoid the international law designed to protect workers and environments in developing countries from hazardous wastes.
The U.N. Basel Convention and its waste-export ban, now ratified by 62 countries and implemented as law in Europe, prohibit the export of hazardous wastes such as asbestos and PCB wastes from developed to developing countries, even as part of old ships. Adherence to these rules would have required SCL/NCL to pay for decontamination before export to Asia. But Star Cruises escaped such regulation by claiming the Norway would be reused.
Star Cruises denies any trickery on the part of its subsidiary, but NCL's veracity has proved wanting in the past. NCL has been caught lying to the U.S. government about a long pattern of illegal dumping of bilge waste in U.S. coastal waters and had to admit to a long-term policy of lies and deception to avoid the cost of properly disposing of its polluting bilge waters. It later had to pay a $1 million fine.
Germany allowed the export for refurbishment, and several months later the ship was renamed SS Blue Lady and sold by Star Cruises to a Bangladesh shipbreaker. However, the Bangladesh government refused to allow its importation unless it was first decontaminated. Star Cruises then authorized the sale to an Indian shipbreaker.
Today the former SS Norway lies in the mud of the infamous scrapping beaches of Alang in Gujarat state. Despite the pleas of environmental justice activists (and ship lovers) around the world, Star Cruises rushed the ship onto the beach and awaits only a final nod from the Supreme Court of India as to whether scrapping can commence. Most observers believe that only a decision by Star Cruises to take appropriate corporate responsibility can save it or the lives of workers now.
If beaching and breaking are allowed to take place, some of the poorest, most desperate workers of the world will become victims of our luxury vacations. If that sad day comes, at the end of its life, a former floating pleasure palace will become a latter-day plague ship - a vessel of pain and poison. And all this because Star Cruises wants to save a buck. Shame on this brand of "World-Class" greed.