World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


European Commission takes on dirty shipping indust

European Commission takes on dirty shipping industry

Brussels 19th June 2003: Greenpeace welcomed today’s announcement by EU Commissioner for the Environment, Margot Wallstrom, that the European Commission will act to make sure the shipping industry cleans its ships of hazardous materials before exporting them to Asia for scrap. The move came as Greenpeace climbers succeeded, after nine hours, in transforming the EU building ‘Berlaymont’ into a giant billboard calling for mandatory legislation to “clean toxic ships now”.

“The European Commission’s intention to stop this deadly trade will be a relief to hundreds of people who gamble their lives daily by scrapping ships that contain dangerous substances,” said Mr, Salim, a shipbreaker from Bangladesh, speaking from Brussels.

At a press conference in Brussels this afternoon, EU Commissioner Wallstrom, acting on behalf of the Commission, accepted the bell of a contaminated ship that was scrapped recently at the Alang yard in India, given to her by Greenpeace and Mr. Salim, and declared that “After the Prestige and the rapid phase out of single hulled vessels as decided on by the EU, we cannot dump our hazardous waste in developing countries.”

Wallstrom declared that Europe will act on the issue by taking several initiatives. She stressed that European legislation that covers this issue already exists but has not been implemented and said that she would write to ministers of all European countries to forcefully implement the European shipment on waste. She added that the proposed reform of the transhipment of waste under the Basel Convention, scheduled for approval on 30th June, is applicable to ships for scrap.

Mandatory regulations on shipbreaking are vital because the shipping sector is reluctant to assume the full liability for the decontamination of their ships before they are exported to shipbreaking countries. These countries, for example India, Bangladesh and China, are being polluted with known hazardous substances such as dioxins, asbestos and PCBs and people’s health and safety is being put at risk. There have been eight accidents involving contaminated ships at the Alang yard in India alone over the past two and a half months, in which 20 people have died.

“I came to Europe with the hope that the shipping industry would take action to address the problem of shipbreaking. I became disillusioned fast - it is neither willing to spend the time nor the money. Commissioner Wallstrom’s progressive stand today renews hope that vital international regulations will soon come into effect and stop this clandestine toxic trade,” said Rampati Kumar from Greenpeace in India.

Wallstrom added that she will write to the International Maritime Organisation requesting that it also takes this issue seriously and closes loopholes in current international legislation. The next IMO meeting is scheduled to be held in London on 14-18 July.

For background on shipbreaking see:

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>


Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news