Dhaka High Court bans 'toxic' ship
by Gulf Times (Qatar)
4 May 2006 (Dhaka) –
A Bahamian-registered ship that environmentalists say is "toxic" and was due to be dismantled in Bangladesh has been banned from entering its territorial waters by the Dhaka High Court, lawyers said yesterday.
Alfaship, which arrived in the outer anchorage of the country's southeastern Chittagong Port, is one of 50 ships on a "watchlist" of vessels being monitored by Greenpeace.
The High Court issued the ruling yesterday after the Bangladesh Environment Lawyers Association (BELA) challenged the legality of the vessel's entry into the country's waters.
"The bench banned the ship from making any further move into Bangladeshi territorial waters for two months," BELA Executive director Rizwana Hassan said.
Greek-managed LSP Tanker Corp which owns the ship said Wednesday that standard industry "decontamination" procedures had been carried out before the vessel left port in Greece.
"Prior to commencing her final voyage, the Alfaship was made gas free and emptied of oil cargo residues," company spokesman Nicholas Brown said in a statement.
"Alfaship is no different from hundreds of tankers and other merchant vessels sold for demolition in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan in recent years. "The fact that the ship appears on a list on the website of Greenpeace appears to be completely arbitrary," he added.
The company said it would continue to co-operate fully with the Bangladeshi authorities to ensure it met all its requirements.
The High Court ban follows a temporary order last week by the Bangladesh government's Mercantile Marine department refusing permission for the oil tanker to be scrapped.
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