Showing posts from July, 2008

Navy ship to be immortalised as artificial reef

NEW DELHI: A decommissioned Indian Navy ship has become part of an environmental project to showcase the country's marine life - offering adventure tourists opportunities for underwater tours of the vessel. The ship, which has been sunk off the Karnataka coast in the Arabian sea, will serve as an artificial reef and over time become a natural home to weeds, sea plants, fishes and other creatures of the sea. The ship, Seaward Defence Boat T-54, had guarded the country's maritime borders for 23 years from the time it was commissioned in September 1982. The 162-tonne vessel, also known as 'The Ever Vigilant', was sunk off Karwar Port January 30. Prior to this, it was brought for "final preparations" to Karwar, where the Indian Navy is developing a major base. The electrical wiring and the communication system were removed from the ship and traces of oil cleaned from the fuel tanks. The ship was then towed out, mines were fitted on the vessel and detonated

Efforts on to transfer ship owners’s burden to shipbreakers in India

Notes for the MMR Conference on shipbreaking industry 19 July, 2008 Little has changed in Bangladesh and India in terms of occupational safety and environmental protection in the ship breaking industry. In Bangladesh, 4 more wokers died on the Shipbreaking beaches in June 2008. Rate of accident in India is quite alarming too even as per official statistics. It is 2 workers per 1000 which is the worse than the worst in any other industrial sector. One of the most astounding facts about both Alang and Chittangong, Bangladesh is that till date no worker has been compensated for asbestos exposure. In India, a Committee headed by Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment submitted a report to the Supreme Court of India concluding that 16 % of workers in Alang are exposed to asbestos. In a stark case of callousness bordering on barbarism, even these workers have neither been compensated nor efforts made to treat them till date. Asbestos related diseases are incurable. The chemical expos

Laieta & MV KINGDOM in Indian Waters

Laieta has arrived outer port anchorage at Alang. She will be beached within the next two days. Shreeji Shipping is the Indian buyer for the toxic ship. Efforts are on to beach it without declaring it to the Customs and GPCB and AERB. This is a crime and in violation of the Supreme Court order dated 6th September, 2007. A liquefied natural gas (LNG) named 'LAIETA" built in 1970 left Spanish European waters for the scrap yards in Alang beach and has reached Indian waters. The export of hazardous wastes laden ships for demolition is prohibited under the Basel Convention. The departure of this vessel from Spanish Ports without pre-cleaning in the country of export is illegal under the international law, European law and under the Indian domestic law. It is for this reason that some 90 ships are languishing at Alang seeking the permission from the Supreme Court of India where the matter is being currently being heard. The share of LNG in the gas trade accounts for almost 24% o

ISO aims to regulate shipbreaking

Workers who dismantle decommissioned ships could be better protected after the publication of a new ISO document on shipbreaking. The ISO publicly available specification (PAS) 30003 will be available for bodies that audit and certify ship recycling management. It aims to help increase the safety of workers and protection of the environment in an industry known for health and safety failings in some parts of the world, such as Asia. A full ISO standard is expected to follow at a later date. "Certification is a recognized means for an organization to provide assurance that it has effectively implemented a system for ship recycling management," said Captain Charles Piersall, chair of the International Organisation for Standardisation's technical committee on ships. "Clearly the independent third party certification provides the highest level of confidence to the customer - industry or government - in meeting their expectations. "ISO/PAS 30003, as a publicly

Is Nuclear Energy Good for India?

Environmental impacts of nuclear energy generation has to be considered for the whole fuel cycle, from the mining of Uranium to provide fuel for nuclear reactors, to the disposal of radioactive wastes and the decommissioning of nuclear energy plants. A fuel cycle is the whole sequence of processes from the energy source to the actual energy from which is transmitted/transported, and beyond the latter to the disposal/recycling of wastes and by-products. The principal environmental impacts arise through (a) radiation (b) thermal pollution. The radiation, which includes alpha, beta and gamma rays, can have adverse effects on those who are exposed to it. Uranium is mined as uranium ore. Uranium ores are generally mined by underground or surface mining. Uranium-238 is radioactive and decays to give radon-222. Uranium milling operations lead to release of radioactive material as well as radioactive liquid wastes and tailings. Though there are many types of reactors, the primarily used reac

Supreme Court refuses to pass direction on appointment of CAG

The Supreme Court on 14 July refused to entertain a petition seeking laying down of guidelines for the appointment of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. "Guidelines have to come through some legislation in accordance with the Constitution," a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said. "We will not give any direction for the laying down of guidelines for the appointment. You have to find the guidelines in the Constitution," the Bench, also comprising Justice P Sathasivam, observed. The Court declined to go into the petitioner's plea that the issue was needed to be discussed to keep at bay the appointment of "blue-eyed boys of the government" to the post, which has a tenure of six years. The PIL filed by NGO Public Cause Research Foundation contended that a proper procedure has to be laid down for the appointment of CAG since the power assigned to the post was equivalent to that of an apex court judge. When advocate Kamini Jai

India, dumping ground of asbestos waste

Russian asbestos laden toxic ship dumped in India Alang-- On its final voyage, the 25-year-old, 370-foot Russian trawler Komandarm Shcherbakov collected 3,000 tons of blue whiting fish from Denmark's Faroe Islands and ferried the catch to Nigeria. Three months later, the rust-riddled vessel sailed into this port - to die. In May, the vessel gunned its engines for the last time and slid up the beach alongside the skeletal remains of numerous other ships at India's biggest ship-recycling yard in the western coastal state of Gujarat. Like many vessels of its era, the Shcherbakov has asbestos insulation in its engine rooms and elsewhere, according to the ship's chief mate, Andrey Potapov. "They didn't know it was bad back then," he said. The Komandarm Shcherbakov is just the latest character in an ongoing drama of foreign waste dumped on Third World shores, critics say. Environmental groups say there are 90 ships on Alang's beaches, none of which has bee

Alang, world's most toxic beach

Alang is the most toxic beach in the world. Communities, NGOs have rejected new coastal zone notification and demanded that the government 'implement the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) notification in its original 1991 form, until a new comprehensive legislation is enacted that satisfies the requirements of the fishing communities'. The CRZ has been in place since 1991 and amended 19 times in the last 15 years 'under pressure from commercial interests'. The current amended policy that allows status quo deprives communities in Alang of their livelihood and threatens their food chain and health. CRZ notification was aimed at protection of the coastal areas from the ravages of coastal tourism, industrialization and other development activities. It was first mooted in 1981 by Indira Gandhi late Prime Minister of India. Attempts to protect the coastal stretch started in 1991 when developments were regulated with respect to the high tide line. In 2004, the Environment Minis

India to ban new ship-breaking yards, curb coastal construction

(source: Note: Even as a new ship has recently left Singapore to sail under its own steam towards Alang. The ship is currently under charter to Peace Boat, Tokyo, Japan. The ships is laden with asbestos and PCBs since it was built by Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering, Govan, Scotland and rebuilt at Genoa 1964/5 and Eleusis 1997/8, various refits over the years. Its passenger capacity is 1050. Its owners, Topaz International, Greece remain oiblivious of the fact that on 1 May 2008 the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) released the Coastal Management Zone (CMZ) that is to replace the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) that has been in effect since 1991for the 8,000 kilometres of coast in India. The pdf of the CMZ draft notification can be downloaded below or from the MoEF site. This notification entails a decision on prohibiting new ship-breaking yards might be a small step taken on account of the environment, given the complete lack of implement

Clemenceau to be dismantled in UK

London: The asbestos-contaminated obsolete French aircraft carrier Clemenceau . Whose entry into India for dismantling was once blocked, will be finally broken up in the U.K after being kicked around like a football for fear of exposure to toxic waste. The French Defence Ministry said the toxic-laden warship will be broken up by a company called Able UK whose shipyard is in the north-east of Britain. The controversial ship with an estimated 22 tonnes of toxic material,which no foreign country was willing to dismantle, had nearly overshadowed French President Jacques Chirac's visit to India in 2006. The 27,000 tonne warship, which was once a proud symbol of France's naval might, was the target of environment groups like Greenpeace and anti-asbestos groups like Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) when it set sail in 2005 to Alang in Gujarat, home to the world's largest shipbreaking yard. It was decommissioned in 1997. Named after France's World War I prime minister Georg

Clemenceau to be broken in UK

India is infamous for its ship graveyards which are amongst the most toxic places on the planet, but apparently the former flagship of the French Navy is too toxic for the Indian salvage yards to deal with, so the ship will end its existence in Britain. After many twists and turns, the Clemenceau will be finally dismantled by the British company Able UK, which is located in the north-east of England. The former aircraft carrier, now designated under the name Hull Q790, has been docked at the military port of Brest since May 2006, after a journey of 18,000 km between Toulon, India and Britain, against a backdrop of controversy around the presence of asbestos on board the vessel. Able UK, which claims to have the largest dry-dock in the world has announced that Q790 will move to the port of Graythorp sometime during the summer and that the work of recycling, which includes asbestos removal, would be completed at the same time as other boats already moored on the site, including four ves