Press Invite for Blue Lady (SS Norway) Conference on 20 September

Press Invite

Attention: News Editor / Chief Reporter

The Indian Platform on Ship-breaking -a coalition of Geenpeace, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), Corporate Accountability Desk, Basel Action Network and other human, labour and environment rights organizations invites you to a press conference on 20th September, 2007 at Asia Foreign Correspondents Cub. The conference would be on the issue of environmental and occupational health in Ship-breaking yard in Alang, Bhavnagar Gujarat in the wake of the Supreme Court order on Hazardous Wastes/ Ship-breaking/Blue Lady (SS Norway, SS France).

Date: 20 September, 2007
Time: 1 PM
Venue: Asia Foreign Correspondents Cub
AB-19, Mathura Road [Opposite Pragati Maidan Gate No.7]
New Delhi-110 001

Mb: 9818089660


mediavigil said…
The Trial of Blue Lady

By order dated 11/9/2007 a Division Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (comprising Dr Justice Arijit Pasayat and Hon’ble Mr Justice S H Kapadia) granted permission for the dismantling of the ship Blue Lady at Alang, Gujarat.

The main factors which seemed to have weighed their Lordships minds appears to have been that the breaking of the vessel would yield “to this country” 41, 000 MT of Steel and that it would provide employment to 700 workmen (which figures were gleaned from bald statements made across the Bar by the Ld. Additional Solicitor General of India and the Advocate appearing for the purchaser of the ship).

The court also seems to have gone by some perceived notion of “proportionality” (which in reality has absolutely no application to the facts of the case). In fact, on a true application of the treaties and conventions as also the previous judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court (i.e. 14th October, 2003), as also the norms and standards relating to environment and the safety of the workmen, if at all the “principle of proportionality” were to be applied, then the breaking of the Blue Lady should not have been allowed and the purchaser of the ship should have been penalized for bringing about a violation of the aforesaid norms, conventions and treaties and the Supreme Court order.

The court has only gone on the aspect concerning asbestos and as accepted that 85 % of the asbestos is contained in the form of wall partitions, ceilings and the roofing in rooms and galleries and if removed without damaging them, they would be reusable. Firstly, no mention seems to have been made as regards the balance 15 % of the asbestos contained on the Blue Lady, which in itself would come to 186 MT of asbestos-the only assumption that one could draw from the same is that the removal of this 186 MT of asbestos is bound to cause asbestosis, Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer and other related illnesses. The silence regarding the said 15 % of asbestos and their removal is puzzling to say the least. The court has accepted the ingenious arguments (curiously advanced by the Ld Additional Solicitor General) that “in the present case, the vessel does not contain single kilogram of asbestos and/or ACM as cargo”, though it had never been the stand of the petitioner that asbestos or ACM was being sought to be brought in as cargo.

Despite the petitioner having pointed out that apart from the asbestos content, the ship also contained radioactive substances and toxic substances, in the order passed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court it merely stated that “There was also an apprehension rightly expressed by the petitioner regarding radioactive material on board the vessel Blue Lady. Therefore, an immediate inspection of the said vessel beached at Alang since 16.8.2006 was undertaken by Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and by GMB. The apprehension expressed by the petitioner was right. However, as the matte stands today, AERB and GMB have certified that the said vessel Blue Lady beached in Alang no more contains any radioactive material on board the ship”. In this regard it may pertinent to state that the petitioner had referred to a letter sent by one Mr Tom Haugen (who had been the Project Manager for Engineering, Delivery, Installation, Commissioning and later services and upgrades as regards Fire Detection Installation Systems on board the Blue Lady) stating therein that the fire detection system on the Blue Lady contained 5500 detection points and had 1100 radioactive elements, Americium 241. However, a perusal of the aforementioned report of the inspection undertaken on 14.8.2007 shows that the report and the entire inspection seems to have been completed within a period of 4 hours (a commendable task no doubt) and the report states that they could only 12 smoke detectors containing Americium 241. Having found these 12 smoke detectors containing radioactive materials, the report concludes that the ship “now, does not contain any radioactive material on board”.
No mention is made as regards the balance 1088 smoke detectors containing Americium 241.

The court has not considered a very crucial contention raised by the petitioner with regard to “Prior Informed Consent” which has been accepted in the Rio Declaration, Basel Convention, Cartegena Protocol, Rotterdam Convention, Stockholm Convention etc-this principle has also been incorporated in Hazardous Wastes Rules 1989. As per the principle no member state can send hazardous waste to a developing country without its prior consent.

Another important aspect raised by the petitioner has been given a complete go by namely, that a ship ought to be decontaminated prior to its export for dismantling (which view was expressed by this Hon’ble court in its earlier judgement dated 14. 10.2003).

Further, though the petitioner had pointed no quantification with regard to PCBs was done by the ship purchaser and the report by GEPIL was based only on visual inspection this aspect seems to have been completely ignored in dismantling plan, the reports of the TEC as well in the judgement by the Hon’ble Supreme Court.

Apart from the above, the petitioner had also raised apprehension regarding the security aspect and the violations thereof with regard to the entry of the ship in the Indian territorial waters-that despite the ship purchaser having obtained an order permitting anchoring in Indian territorial waters on humanitarian grounds, the ship was taken to Dubai for 25 days and thereafter brought back to India. Despite the petitioner expressing his apprehensions regarding the implication of the above action as also bringing to the notice of the court a Naval Intelligence report that the mafia was involved in the ship-breaking activities in India and that the same coupled with the fact that the Blue Lady (despite allegedly being a ship which on dismantling would yield 41, 000 MT of Steel and provide employment to 700 workmen) was sold for a paltry sum of 10 dollars to the purchaser, no attention has been focused on this aspect.
Anonymous said…
I do hope you have contacted WSVN of Miamia, Florida of the United States ( along with the remainder of parties who covered the initial incident in Miami that led to this current situation. There is a list consolidated from google/yahoo news at on the lower section of the page with hundreds of links.
Anonymous said…
Does anyone know where to find the report from the Indian Directorate on Naval Intelligence which came about as a result of an India Supreme Court Case about the environmental hazards of unregulated ship breaking?
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