Toxic Trade News / 17 February 2006
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Centre's inter-ministerial group meet over Clemenceau
by Zee News (India)
17 February 2006 (Ahmedabad) – Even as the ship-breaker, which had bought the asbestos-laden French aircraft carrier Clemenceau has filed a caveat in the Supreme Court, the Centre's inter-ministerial group is scheduled to meet in Mumbai today to take stock of the latest situation following French government suspending the deal.

The 26,700 tonne warship containing anywhere between 45 and 100 tonnes of asbestos embedded into its wall, which had reportedly anchored outside India's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) for dismantling at Alang ship-breaking yard in Gujarat, is said to be returning to France.

Senior officials from the industry, Labour and other departments are scheduled to discuss the twin inter-related aspects, namely the economic viablity of the ship-breaking industry vis-a-vis steel prices and the workers' safety and environmental aspects, industry sources said.

However, Mukesh Patel of Ram Vessels Scrap Ltd, who had bought the decomissioned ship and had kept his men and machinery for recycling it into steel scrap, refused to comment further in view of the Supreme Court directive not to publish articles which might have their bearing on the SC Monitoring Committee (SCMC).

Meanwhile, Alang Ship-breaking Industries Association President P S Nagarsheth is understood to have dashed a letter to Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) to allow the media to enter the yard and let them see for themselves the vast improvement that had taken place, particularly with respect to workers' safety and environmental protection.

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