Toxic Trade News / 9 August 2006
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Turkey under pressure to bar asbestos ship Otapan
Opposition party demands chemtanker is banned from Turkish waters on its way to scrapping, writes Helen Hill in Amsterdam
by Helen Hill, Turkish Maritime News
  Asbestos tanker Otapan  
9 August 2006 (Amsterdam) – The Turkish government is being urged to bar the chemical tanker Otapan, currently heading for scrap, from entering its waters.

The Dutch government and Mexican-owned vessel, which now looks destined to become the subject of another prolonged battle between environmentalists and scrappers, has been dubbed ‘toxic’ because it contains unknown amounts of lethal brown asbestos.

In Turkey, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has objected to the arrival of the ship, according to the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman.

CHP Ankara deputy Mehmet Boztas has questioned the environment minister Osman Pepe about whether the government had contradicted hazardous waste regulations.

The Otapan had been berthed in Amsterdam for seven years. It came to the Dutch government’s attention when the crew started ripping asbestos out of the vessel.

When some 3,000 refuse bags were ondeck, the Dutch ministry of the environment ordered the vessel to be sealed and paid for cleaning up the outside of the ship.

Mr Boztas, who is also a member of the Turkish Parliament Committee for Environmental Research, requested information on why the ship was approved for arrival at Turkish ports while no other country had accepted it, Zaman reported.

He also claimed that developed countries abused developing countries when ditching hazardous waste.

According to the Turkish press reports, the ministry first denied that the vessel had been granted permission.

Then it later stated that permission had been granted and the ship did not carry toxic materials.

No one from the Turkish government was available for further comment as Lloyd’s List went to press.

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