Toxic Trade News / 20 March 2006
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Plan 'shockingly inadequate' says green advocates
by Justin Stares, Lloyd's List
20 March 2006 (Brussels) – Aircraft carriers such as the Clemenceau could be exported from Europe to the developing world for breaking every day if a new convention before the International Maritime Organization is approved, environmental groups have warned.

The draft text on "environmentally sound recycling of ships", to be examined by the IMO next week, is "shockingly inadequate" and represents and seeks to legitimise regarded as illegal, the NGO platform on shipbreaking said yesterday.

"Rather than closing the floodgates to toxic ship dumping and promoting pre-cleaning of ships, the draft IMO treaty would allow many more scandalous exports such as we have recently seen with the Clemenceau, and legalise them on a daily basis," said Ingvild Jenssen, platform co-ordinator.

The group includes Greenpeace, the Basel Action Network, the International Federation for Human Rights and Bellona.

"This treaty appears to be intentionally designed to legitimise what the world has already agreed is a criminal activity, dumping toxic waste on weaker economies," said Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network.

The draft convention is on the agenda of the IMO marine environmental protection committee in London.

Environmentalists are annoyed that the draft does not stick to the principles established in the Basel Convention, which bans toxic dumping.

The draft fails to encourage the construction of shipbreaking facilities in the developing world and does not place enough responsibility on states with jurisdiction over shipowners ("the polluter"), it is claimed. Military vessels are also exempt as the draft currently stands.

The fate of the Clemenceau, brought back to France after an international outcry, continues to make waves in the EU. Euro MPs want the European commission to do more to banish the practice whereby ships packed with toxic substances such as asbestos are sent to breakers' yards in the developing world, where health and safety conditions are often poor.

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