SS Norway heads for Alang, India
by The Star Online (Malaysia)
29 May 2006 –
Basel action Network (BAN), a global toxic trade watchdog, has confirmed that the elusive SS Norway is heading to the ship breaking yard in Alang, India.
Earlier, the vessel under its new name SS Blue Lady was said to be on tow from Port Klang to Dubai for refurbishment.
The ship laden with 1,200 to 1,300 tonnes of asbestos and now considered a floating hazardous waste is nowhere to be located yet although BAN has sent a global alert to look out for the ocean liner.
BAN coordinator Jim Puckett said their sources in Alang had informed that the owner of the vessel, Rajiv Reniwal had appeared before the Technical Committee on Ship-Breaking set up by the Indian Supreme Court requesting them to allow the vessel to enter Indian waters.
"This confirms our previous concerns that the vessel's true destination is India and not Dubai as it declared to the Port Klang Marine Department.
"There is also no doubt as to why the vessel is heading there for disposal.
"By declaring before Malaysian officials that the vessel is heading for Dubai, the ship owners have misrepresented the vessel's real destination, placing Malaysia in an extremely awkward position of becoming entangled in an illegal export of hazardous wastes under Article 9 of the Basel Convention on the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention)," he said in a letter dated May 21 sent to Minister of Environment Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid.
As a party to the Basel Convention, Puckett said Malaysia had outstanding legal responsibilities to re-mediate the illegal export.
"We have provided a legal analysis of these obligations, as well as those under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, to which Malaysia has expressed interest in ratifying.
"Malaysia has long been a leader in the Basel Convention, and the incident with the SS Blue Lady can possibly taint Malaysia's outstanding record if not properly addressed. "In 1998, Malaysia hosted the Conference of Parties in Kuching and Malaysia was one of the first Asian countries to ratify the Basel Ban Amendment," he said.
He said BAN believed that Malaysia would uphold its duty under the Basel Convention with respect to the SS Blue Lady to recall it, preventing many hundreds of tons of asbestos and other toxins from contaminating Indian workers.
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