Blue Lady Saga
Blue Lady Saga
Current Situation: The Supreme Court is due to hear the Blue Lady/Hazardous Wastes matter on 26 July, 2007.
The court observed on 17th August 2006 that the only permission granted on humanitarian grounds by it on 5th June 2006 was for anchoring at a safe place in the territorial waters of India off Alang. It made it clear that no permission whatsoever has been granted for breaking of the ship. The court further made it clear that any precipitate action to break the ship without the court's express permission will be dealt with severely. In its June 2006 order, the court took note of anchorage, beaching and dismantling as separate measures and mentioned them distinctly. Permitting anchorage, the order said, "This shall, however, not confer any equity on the owners of the ship, which is sought to be put on anchorage, beaching and dismantling."
The question which remains unanswered is whether or not Blue Lady has violated court's 14th October, 2003 order which made pre-cleaning in the country of export mandatory.
A Brief Chronology of what happened to Blue Lady since it was refused entry by Bangladesh: -
5 May, 2006: Blue Lady left Malaysia to go to Dubai for repairs
11 May, 2006: Indian media reported that Blue Lady left the port of Malaysia for Dubai for repairs and later it started sailing towards the Indian port at Alang, Gujarat after it was refused entry in Bangladesh. Sanjay Parikh and Rohit Alex, Supreme Court lawyers brought this to the notice of the Supreme Court. The court asked someone to move the application.
12 May, 2006: An application in the apex court asking the court to ensure that the ship complied with court orders was filed. The court issued notices to the concerned authorities including Technical Committee.
14 May, 2006: Gujarat Pollution Control Board bars the entry of Blue Lady in Indian waters
17 May, 2006:Technical Experts Committee on Ship breaking (appointed by the Supreme Court in February 2006 while hearing Le Clemenceau case) hears the submission of the ship purchaser, Haryana Ship Demolitions Pvt Ltd
17 May, 2006: Kalraj Mishra, MP asked the government to send back the ship named Blue Lady since its 50 times more toxic than other ships.
20 May 2006: Technical Experts Committee on Ship breaking prepares its Interim Report
27 May, 2006: Technical Experts Committee on Ship breaking invites NGOs to make submission
31 May, 2006: Interim Report submitted to the Supreme Court and next date if hearing asked
5 June, 2006: Court allows Haryana Ship Demolitions Pvt Ltd to anchor Blue Lady on humanitarian grounds, legal arguments would be heard in July 2006
5 June, 2006: The Applicant in the Blue Lady case filed additional affidavits citing the case of illegal traffic of the ship and the obligation of the Malaysian Government to recall the ship
13 June, 2006: Instead of anchoring in Indian waters, the ship left for Dubai, UAE
26 June, 2006: Technical Committee holds its meeting to take stock of the ship-breaking situation and Blue Lady
26 June, 2006: Indian Platform on Ship-breaking formally launched at a meeting in Chennai
27 June, 2006: Technical Committee informs the media that it would submit the final report on 30th July to the Supreme Court
30 June, 2006: Blue Lady anchored 35 nautical miles away from Alang. Heavy rains prevent Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) to begin inspection on Blue Lady. Platform informed the media as to how the new evidence shows that Blue Lady indulged in deceit at the German port in May 2005 with regard to its intent of dismantling and how Star Cruise, the owner of the ship is indicted of Environmental Crime by US Justice Department.
5 July, 2006: Indian Platform sent a Letter to German Embassy in New Delhi informing them of the acts of ommission and commission contrary to Basel Convention at the German port by Star Cruise
6 July, 2006: Platform informs the media of the manner in which the ship-purchasers have misled the committee and the court
10 July, 2006: Although Gujarat Pollution Control Board is yet to inspect Norwegian cruise liner 'Blue Lady' for possible toxic content, a Press Release issued by PTI is being printed time and again wherein it said that "The ship, currently anchored at Pipavav port in State, will be moved to the Alang ship-breaking yard after the GPCB inspection. The Supreme Court last month ruled that the ship could be scrapped at Alang provided it was declared safe by experts."
12 July, 2006: Neumeyer, German Member of Parliament confirms that S S Norway (Blue Lady) that all evidence shown showed that the ship would be reconstructed and reused as a hotel or training ship. He also confirmed that German Government has been asked by the European Commission to inform them whether the ship has violated Basel Convention and European Waste Shipment Regulation.
29 July, 2006: Technical Committee decides to allow beaching of the ship contrary to the court order
31st July, 2006: The term of Technical Committee expired. It has applied in the court for further extension.
1st August, 2006: Beaching was recommended by the Technical Committee.
6th August, 2006: Business Standard reported that Haryana Ship Demolitions Ltd has sold the ship to Priya Blue Shipping Limited in 16 M US dollars.
15th August, 2006: Blue Lady beached in Alang some 1-5 km away from the shore in the early morning. One of the crew members of the 'Blue Lady', a cruise liner that beached on Tuesday at Alang ship breaking yard of Bhavnagar, was arrested for fraud.
17th August, 2006: A new application filed in the case seeking action against the violation of court orders by the Technical Committee by allowing beaching of Blue Lady. The court said, no breaking permission has been granted and those found guilty of violating court orders will be dealt with severely. The court observed that the only permission granted by it on 5th June 2006 was for anchoring at a safe place in the territorial waters of India off Alang. It made it clear that no permission whatsoever has been granted for breaking of the ship. The court further made it clear that any precipitate action to break the ship without the court's express permission will be dealt with severely. In its June 2006 order, the court took note of anchorage, beaching and dismantling as separate measures and mentioned them distinctly. Permitting anchorage, the order said,
"This shall, however, not confer any equity on the owners of the ship, which is sought to be put on anchorage, beaching and dismantling." This exposes the impropriety committed by the Technical Committee on Ship-breaking whose term expired on 31st July, 2006 but is still held its meeting on 18th and 19th August, 2006 in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
24 August, 2006: European Commission Directorate General, Environment writes to Indian Basel Focal Point, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests informing India that the Commission is investigating the circumstances in which the ship Blue Lady left Europe in May 2005 and it sought to know whether Basel Convention Guidelines have been complied with.
25th August, 2006: Basudev Acharya, a Member of Parliament raises the petition on Blue Lady in the Parliament seeking investigate the role of authorities
30th –31st August 2006: Technical Committee's Final Report submitted to the Supreme Court. The Committee has submitted two sets of reports. One, concerning Blue Lady and the other about Ship-breaking in general. The Committee final report confirms fears expressed by the applicant in his 12th May, 2006 application to the effect that workers are severely exposed to lethal substances such as asbestos and PCBs. Asbestos is banned in over 40 countries because of it cancer causing nature. And PCB another carcinogen is listed for phase out as per Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) of which India is a party. It also suggests that some 2 accidents per 1000 workers is taking place, which is the worst in comparison to any industry.